by Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios
This is the time of the year when we all look forward to summer vacations and enjoying the company of family and friends. While we all enjoy outdoor activities, we must also use common sense in protecting our family as well as ourselves against potential dangers.
For many, summer has not started until the grill is fired up. One thing you can do to ensure your grill is working properly is to check for any leaks by applying soapy water around the connection between the propane cylinder and gas hose. If bubbles appear, a leak exists and you need to avoid the use of that cylinder. Both gas and coal grills must be used in well-ventilated areas to avoid fires or fume inhalation.
Food preparation also is an important part of grilling. Always wash your hands before and after preparing the food. Keep food refrigerated before cooking. Always make sure that food is cooked thoroughly. An estimated 76 million Americans get sick each year from food-borne illnesses caused by under-cooked food. You can use a meat thermometer to ensure sure that food is prepared to the proper temperature.
Whether it is our world famous Jersey Shore, one of our state’s many swimming and boating lakes or a community or backyard pool, playing, swimming or just floating in refreshing water may be the perfect anecdote for the hot and hazy days of summer. Caution and common sense will make your time in the water much more enjoyable. Last year, there were 137 deaths caused by drowning, 100 of those deaths were children under age 5. Drowning can happen quickly and quietly anywhere there is water and even in the presence of lifeguards. It is critically important to supervise children while they swim. Backyard pools should be fenced in to prevent access to the pool area without your knowledge. You should also clear the pool area of any floats or toys when you are out of the pool. Removing these items removes the temptation from children, who may go back into the water without your knowledge.
If you are enjoying a day at the beach or in the ocean, always make sure that your child is supervised and that you swim in sight of the life guards. Obey the warnings represented by the color of the beach flags. The use of sun screen is also very important to prevent sun burn and avoid skin cancer.
There are many individuals who also enjoy boating. One major rule to follow is to not consume alcoholic beverages while operating a motorboat. All children should wear a life vest, and the boats should not have more than the maximum number of people allowed onboard.
Summer is an incredible time to enjoy quality time with friends and family. With a little caution and careful planning, the days of summer can be some of the greatest on which to build happy memories.
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