Plan Now for Safety on Memorial Day

This holiday weekend, have fun and stay safe with 5 tips from the nation’s emergency physicians.

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“We want people to have fun on Memorial Day weekend, which officially kicks off summer,” said Dr. Angela Gardner, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). “But having fun also means staying safe, using good judgment and taking simple precautions that will help keep you out of the ER and most importantly, keep you alive.”

Top 5 Tips from the American College of Emergency Physicians:


Safe Meals: Use a meat thermometer. Cook fresh poultry to 165 F, hamburgers to 160 F, and beef to at least 145 F. Refrigerate all perishable food within 2 hours, 1 hour if the temperature outside is above 90 degrees F. Keep uncooked meats away from other foods.

Safe Grilling: Thoroughly clean a grill of any grease or dust. On gas grills, check tubes leading into the burner for any blockages from insects or food grease and replace connectors if needed. Do not use a grill in a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or near any surface that can catch fire. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions that accompany the grill.

Safe in the Water: Don’t drink alcohol when swimming or boating. Wear a lifejacket whenever you are on a boat. Make sure young children are supervised at all times when near the beach, on a boat, or by a pool or hot tub. Don’t swim alone or in bad weather. Learn to swim and teach your children to swim. We also recommend that you learn CPR in case of an emergency.

Safe in the Sun: Protect against sunburn and heat stroke. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and apply it generously throughout the day. Wear a hat outdoors and UV-blocking sunglasses to protect your eyes. Drink plenty of water, especially when in the sun or sweating heavily. If you feel faint or nauseous, get into a cool place immediately.

Safe on the Road: Don’t drink alcohol and drive or travel with anyone who has been drinking. Wear your seatbelt at all times. Make sure your vehicle has been properly serviced and is in good working shape before a long road trip. Familiarize yourself with your surroundings and know the location of the nearest emergency room in case of an emergency.

“Many of the factors that will determine your safety over Memorial Day weekend—and any time this summer—come down to good decision-making and common sense,” said Dr. Gardner. “As someone who sees the consequences up close, my best advice is: know your limits, be mindful of certain risks and stay smart.”

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