Party Right! Memorial Day Weekend Safety Tips

friends having a dinner party
Memorial Day weekend! Many people consider this holiday weekend to be the unofficial start of summer and celebrate with picnics, cookouts and other activities. If you are hosting or attending a Memorial Day party, it is important to keep in mind certain safety precautions to ensure everyone not only has a good time, but a safe one as well.

Here are a few reminders to make sure your weekend celebrations go off without a hitch.

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Food Safety Tips

The same techniques that you normally follow are all that is needed to ensure proper food handling. Basic reminders include:

Wash Your Hands. It is always important to thoroughly wash your hands with soap and warm water before and after handling raw meat, poultry or eggs.

Wash produce. Fruits and vegetables should be rinsed before eating.

Take care with meat. Cook burgers to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure bacteria is no longer present.

Be careful with raw foods. Make sure raw and uncooked meat does not come in contact with other foods. Use separate plates for raw and cooked meats.

Watch food temperatures. Foods that contain eggs, meat, milk and other dairy products should not be un-refrigerated for longer than an hour. Hot foods should be kept hot and cold foods cold.

Make sure you know and are able to recognize the signs of food poisoning. They include severe cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. These symptoms can appear within half an hour of eating contaminated food. People who suspect they have food poisoning should seek medical treatment if the symptoms become severe or last longer than two days.

Children Safety Tips

Did you know that:

• Nearly half of a little more than 12,000 kids up to age 19 who died as a result of unintentional injuries did so in June, July and August, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

• Each summer, about 2.7 million children visit the ER as a result of injuries around the pool or backyard. About 200,000 children under 14 wind up in the ER for playset-related injuries every year.

Always make sure there is an adult or parent responsible for watching their children. Accidents are always a possibility and it only takes one second for a party to turn into a tragedy if children are left unattended.

Alcohol Safety Tips

Beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages are often found at Memorial Day celebrations. Just like any other time of the year, certain precautions must be taken if you or someone you know is going to be drinking alcohol.

• It is illegal for people under the age of 21 to consume alcoholic beverages. There are no exceptions made for family picnics, parties or celebrations regardless of the adult supervision in place. In fact if you provide alcohol or even allow a person under age to consume alcohol at a party both the adult and minor can face legal consequences.

• Never drink and drive. Again, this is common sense advice that is necessary all year long to ensure the safety of everyone involved. If you are hosting a party, make sure anyone who is drinking has a designated driver or be willing to let them stay until they are able to drive.

• Moderation is key. There are many celebrations which have a bad ending due to excessive consumption of alcohol. There is nothing wrong with having a few drinks and having fun with friends. People drinking alcohol may find it difficult to know when the line has been crossed, so it is important to have someone responsible for keeping an eye out for potential problems.

Remember: Barbecue grill fires result in about 8,000 home fires annually, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Have a great time and enjoy getting together with friends and family this weekend, and remember to pay your respects to those who have given so much so that we can all celebrate and have fun.

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CDC Emergency Preparation…Including Zombies

A poster of the CDC emergency preparation campaign featuring a zombieThe CDC wants to know…are you ready for a zombie attack?

That’s the question posed by the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention in a Monday blog posting gruesomely titled, “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse.” And while it’s no joke, CDC officials say it’s all about emergency preparation.

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The post took a more gruesome turn when close to the same time, a man named Rudy Eugene was shot and killed after gruesomely devouring a homeless man’s face in a zombie-like craze believed to caused by bath salts abuse.

READ: The Danger Of…Bath Salts???

“There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for,” the posting reads. “Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.”

The post, written by Assistant Surgeon General Ali Khan, instructs readers how to prepare for “flesh-eating zombies.” Perhaps surprisingly, the same steps you’d take in preparation for an onslaught of ravenous monsters are similar to those suggested in advance of a hurricane or pandemic.

“First of all, you should have an emergency kit in your house,” the posting continues. “This includes things like water, food, and other supplies to get you through the first couple of days before you can locate a zombie-free refugee camp (or in the event of a natural disaster, it will buy you some time until you are able to make your way to an evacuation shelter or utility lines are restored).”

Other items to be stashed in such a kit include medications, duct tape, a battery-powered radio, clothes, copies of important documents and first aid supplies.

“Once you’ve made your emergency kit, you should sit down with your family and come up with an emergency plan,” the posting continues. “This includes where you would go and who you would call if zombies started appearing outside your doorstep. You can also implement this plan if there is a flood, earthquake or other emergency.”

The idea behind the campaign stemmed from concerns of radiation fears following the earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan in March. CDC spokesman Dave Daigle told FoxNews.com that someone had asked CDC officials if zombies would be a concern due to radiation fears in Japan and traffic spiked following that mention.

“It’s kind of a tongue-in-cheek campaign,” Daigle said Wednesday. “We were talking about hurricane preparedness and someone bemoaned that we kept putting out the same messages.”

While metrics for the post are not yet available, Daigle said it has become the most popular CDC blog entry in just two days.

“People are so tuned into zombies,” he said. “People are really dialed in on zombies. The idea is we’re reaching an audience or a segment we’d never reach with typical messages.”