Labor Day safety

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The Labor Day holiday is on the horizon. Hot weather is winding down and cooler fall temperatures are just around the corner.

It’s time to get out and enjoy all of the things you’ve put off as a result of excessive heat, and it’s also time to be extra cautious of children in and around roadways now that school has started. If children are crossing the road, please stop and give them the right of way.

If you are planning to enjoy the great outdoors, keep a few things in mind such as fast changing weather conditions, cold rivers and lakes, streams, and wild animals. It’s common to see snow, heavy at times, in the higher mountains during September. When you’re packing for your excursion into the hills, always plan to include cold weather gear. Utah weather often changes without notice and you can find yourself in a very dangerous situation if not prepared.

The National Safety Council warns that Labor Day is a notorious road-trip weekend and it’s one of the busiest. If you’re planning a weekend excursion, make sure to be well rested, plan for frequent rest stops, and divide driving duties if possible. To help in the event of a breakdown in a remote area, don’t forget to pack a vehicle emergency kit that contains extra food and snacks, blankets, flashlight, jumper cables, a tool kit, tire gauge and flares.

This Labor Day weekend you may be planning a final summer picnic at the park, backyard barbecue, or a short trip to your favorite place. You need to remember that there are hazards to be aware of no matter how you choose to spend your time.

For those who choose to stay home and enjoy a barbecue, think about a very common hazard: foodborne illnesses.

Tips to Prevent Food Poisoning:

• Thoroughly wash your hands before and after touching food, especially meat, to prevent cross-contamination. Clean utensils, cutting boards and cookware after they have come in contact with food.

• The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends marinating raw meats in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Never reuse marinade for cooked food after it was already used on raw meats.

• Use a food thermometer to verify that meat is cooked properly before you serve it up. Not sure what temperature to cook your meat to? Refer to the FoodSafety.gov chart of safe minimum cooking temperatures.

• Never air-dry produce. Blot or rub fruits and vegetables dry to remove microorganisms prior to consumption.

• Don’t leave food sitting out in the sun all day. Put leftovers in the refrigerator within two hours of preparation, placing items in shallow containers to allow them to cool faster.

Take the time necessary to manage risks involved with the activities you have planned so you can enjoy a wonderful and safe holiday weekend.