Stay Safe This Fourth of July: OSDH Shares Holiday/Summer Safety Tips

Ponca City Now - July 4, 2023 9:16 am

With the Fourth of July just around the corner, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is offering some safety tips.

OSDH says they want Oklahomans to have fun and celebrate the holiday, but to do so safely. Here are some safety tips to help avoid injuries and illnesses ahead of Independence Day:

Firework safety:

  • Obey all state and local laws regarding the sale, possession and use of fireworks. Make sure when you do fireworks they are in an area where it is legal or allowed with appropriate permits.
  • An adult should supervise all fireworks activities and never give fireworks to children.
  • Make sure you wear safety glasses when shooting off fireworks.
  • Make sure you, kids, and others watch fireworks from a safe distance.
  • Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area, away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Do not light devices inside their container, indoors, or near dry grass.
  • Always have a bucket of water and/or a water hose nearby.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.
  • Dispose of used fireworks by wetting them down and placing them in a metal trashcan away from any buildings or combustible materials until the next day.

Safe food preparation:

  • Clean: Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water before, during, and after handling the food. Make sure to hold people accountable and ask if they have washed their hands before touching the food. Wash all surfaces and utensils with hot, soapy water before and after preparing each food item.
  • Separate: Avoid cross-contamination. Use separate cutting boards, plates and utensils for fresh fruits/veggies and for raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs. Also make sure to keep these items separate when at the grocery store, storing in the refrigerator, and during preparation.
  • Cook: Grill and cook all meat products to the correct temperature. Make sure to use a food thermometer to correctly measure temperatures. Hamburgers should be brown throughout with no pink in the center. Hamburgers should be at least 160 degrees internally. Poultry should be 165 degrees, and leftovers should also reach 165 degrees when reheated.
  • Chill: If you leave food out to snack on all day, it can cause abdominal discomfort and diarrhea. To prevent illness, refrigerate easily spoiled foods within two hours. If the temperature is 90 degrees or higher, you should refrigerate the food within one hour.
  • Ill: Do not cook food for others if you are ill. If you have had vomiting or diarrhea, wait at least 72 hours after symptoms have stopped before you cook meals for others.

Grilling safety:

  • Always supervise a barbecue grill when it is in use.
  • Never grill indoors. This means do not grill in your house, your camper, tent, or any other enclosed area.
  • Grill out in the open, away from the house, tree branches, or anything flammable.
  • Use long-handled tools that are made for cooking on the grill.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when the coals are already ignited.
  • Wear the appropriate clothing when grilling, such as aprons, mitts, and closed-toed shoes to protect from any spills.
  • Never leave a lit grill unattended.
  • Always have a fire extinguisher nearby, just in case.
  • When done grilling, turn off the propane or remove the charcoal carefully.
  • Allow the grill to cool off before you clean it.

Drowning prevention:

  • Teach children how to swim at an early age.
  • Install alarms on house doors and windows and around the pool area.
  • Follow the rule of four, use self-closing, self-latching gates and/or fencing on all four sides of the pool, at least four feet high, and with gaps no bigger than four inches wide.
  • Adults should supervise without distractions when children are in or near any body of water. This includes bathtubs, buckets, toilets, ponds, spas, and pools.
  • Never leave a child alone near the water. Check the pool first if you notice a child is missing.
  • Choose an adult who will stay within arm’s reach of the child.

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