Whether a graduation party, backyard barbecue or 4th of July celebration, summer is party time in America, especially in Michigan where the “good” weather season seems too short. When trying to fit in all the outdoor activities, don’t overlook these important safe practices.
Did you know that July is the peak month for grill fires? Roughly half of the injuries involving grills are burns. Practice these safety tips and you should be on your way to safe grilling:
- Propane and charcoal grills should be used outdoors away from the home, deck railings, and out from under leaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
- Remove grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Never leave the grill unattended.
- Make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
- If using starter fluid for your charcoal grill, use only charcoal starter fluid and never add more starter or other flammable liquids to the fire. Allow the coals to cool completely before disposing of them in a metal container.
Keep your food safe from the refrigerator/freezer . . . all the way to the picnic table. Never let your picnic food remain in the “danger zone” – between 40 degrees and 140 degrees – for more than two hours or 1 hour if outdoor temperatures are above 90 degrees. Bacteria in food can multiply rapidly and lead to food borne illness. Follow these guidelines:
- Cold food should be kept at 40 degrees until serving time. If the food reaches the “danger zone”, throw it away. Foods can be kept cool by placing the serving dish in a pan filled with ice. Drain off the water as the ice melts and replace with more ice.
- Hot food should be kept at or above 140 degrees. Wrap it well and place in an insulated container until serving. Once again, if the hot food reaches the “danger zone”, throw it away.
Each summer, news reports include swimming and boating tragedies. Don’t let yourself or a family member become a statistic:
- Never swim alone or allow anyone else to swim alone.
- Do not swim in unsupervised areas. Observe warning signs: “No Lifeguard on Duty,” “Dangerous Undertow,” “Beach Closed to Swimming.”
- Always watch children and never leave them unattended around pools, lakes, or any body of water.
- Test water depth before diving. Do not dive into shallow or unfamiliar waters. If you’re unable to see below the water’s surface, don’t dive.
- Before the maiden voyage, make sure your watercraft is ready to ride the waves with a tune-up and safety equipment check including life jackets, a floatation device, a tow line, jumper cables, extra paddles, a fire extinguisher, and a first aid kit.
- Learn the lay of the lake and know the rules of the water. Maintain a proper lookout and a safe speed.
- Always have a spotter sitting at the back of the boat. Review the basic hand signals with the spotter when water skiing, wake boarding, or tubing. Make sure the propeller is stopped before climbing aboard a boat from the water.
- Stay away from water during electrical storms.
- Never swim or operate a boat if you’re tired, overheated, under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medications.
Summer parties often include other activities. You’ll find more information on the internet regarding safety tips for everything from swimming and boating safety to biking, skating, and skateboarding, to fireworks and bonfires, to sun and heat safety tips.
Before hosting a summer event, check with your homeowners insurance agent to determine whether you have the proper protection should there be a mishap. HAPPY SUMMER!!!
Vicki Brossman has been with Kemner Iott Benz for 18 years where she specializes in asset protection and risk management for our personal lines customers. Vicki has been involved in farming her entire life being raised on a farm in the Marcellus area. For the last 42 years, Vicki and her husband have been farming in the Vandalia/Cassopolis area.
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