While many people mark the last Monday of May as the start to the summer season, thousands of other people mark this day as a day to remember. Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated after the American Civil War as a day to commemorate and honor both union and confederate soldiers who died at war. However, by the 20th century, Memorial Day became what we know it as today – a day to remember all Americans who have passed while serving our military.
As a tribute to our fallen service members, it is our job to celebrate safely. Whether you’re hanging out in the sun or by the water, hosting a BBQ, or traveling during this long weekend, be sure to follow proper safety precautions.
Whether on the road or on the water, being alert while traveling is extremely important. With more people out and about, hazards are elevated. Always pay attention to road rules, obey the speed limits, wear a seat belt, and designate a driver if there will be alcohol involved in your festivities. Other important safety precautions include not following too closely to other vehicles, making frequent stops if necessary, using caution in work zones, and using signals to notify others of your intentions.
FOOD AND GRILLING SAFETY
While cooking your tasty cookout treats:
- NEVER grill indoors or in enclosed spaces. Stay clear of the house, deck, and any overhead branches or overhangs.
- Always supervise the grill while in use and be sure to watch for children and animals coming too close.
- Keep the chef safe by using the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill.
- Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited. Also, be ready to close the lid and turn off the grill to cut off the fuel if necessary.
- Keep a fireproof pan under the grill to catch any falling ash or grease.
- Trim off excess fat from meat to avoid flare-ups.
- Always wash hands in hot soapy water before preparing food, after touching raw meat and after any interruptions such as using the bathroom, handling pets, and stopping to do something with children.
WATER AND SWIMMING SAFETY
Besides knowing how to swim, be sure to swim in areas supervised by lifeguards, always have a swim buddy, supervise young children or have inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around the water, and always have children ask permission before entering the water.
Sunscreen, sunscreen SUNSCREEN! Always wear a sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and reapply as directed. Wear a hat and sunglasses at all times and stay hydrated. For more tips regarding sun safety, check out my post on how to protect your skin from harmful UV radiation.
Now that you know how to stay safe during Memorial Day weekend, I’d like to take this time to say thank you to a few of those dearest to me – my family members who have/currently are making the greatest sacrifice of all time. They remind me every day that freedom isn’t free, they do the jobs that most people are too afraid to do, they are my heroes. Thank you!