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HAP, DOH Offer Safety Tips for a Healthy Fourth of July

July 02, 2021

As Pennsylvanians look to celebrate the Fourth of July this weekend, HAP joins organizations across the commonwealth to offer tips for a healthy, happy holiday.

This year, residents should take proper precautions when it comes to food safety, fireworks, heat-related illness, and the ongoing public health precautions presented by COVID-19, state and federal officials said.

“While enjoying Fourth of July festivities and food, remember to follow grilling and food safety tips,” said Alison Beam, Pennsylvania’s acting secretary of health. “Since Pennsylvania summer weather can get very hot, it is extremely important to keep perishable foods refrigerated and not sitting out in the heat.”

If you’re hosting an outdoor picnic or barbeque, here are few helpful tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Divide cooked food into shallow containers and store in the refrigerator or freezer to cool it rapidly
  • When grilling, throw out marinades and sauces that have touched raw meat juices, which can spread germs to cooked foods. Use clean utensils and a clean plate to remove cooked meat from the grill
  • Refrigerate your food to prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying and making you sick. If the outdoor temperature is above 90 degrees, refrigerate food within one hour

Fireworks pose another area of concern this holiday season. During 2020, there were about 15,600 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments for injuries involving fireworks, and about 66 percent of those injuries occurred between June and July, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“We say it every year because it’s true; fireworks are not toys,” State Fire Commissioner Bruce Trego said in statement. “Fireworks are capable of causing serious injury or death and must be treated with care.”

This week, Trego recommended the following precautions for handling fireworks:

  • Never allow children to play with fireworks, even sparklers, which can burn at temperatures of at least 1,200 degrees
  • Only allow adults to light fireworks one at a time, then quickly back away
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person
  • Keep a bucket of water or garden hose nearby
  • Never pick up or try to relight fireworks that have not fully ignited
  • After the fireworks have burned, fully douse them with water before picking them up or disposing to prevent trash fires
  • Never use fireworks after consuming alcohol, or other medications or substances that can impair judgment or the ability to react quickly to an emergency

In addition to these summer safety tips, public health leaders across the nation continue to emphasize the importance of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Getting vaccinated helps us safely enjoy our time with our loved ones and brings us closer to the end of the pandemic.

HAP wishes everyone a happy, healthy Fourth of July holiday and encourages everyone to take the proper precautions to stay safe. More information about staying safe this summer is available online.