Tips to keep Memorial Day weekend safe

With Memorial Day weekend serving as the unofficial start of summer, area residents are likely to engage in activities from traveling to enjoying backyard barbecues.

With that in mind, the Chester County Department of Emergency Services is offering tips to keep families safe this weekend as well as the entire summer season, according to a county press release.

When you are traveling, it’s important to drive safely. Be well-rested and alert, and ensure that everyone uses seat belts. If your plans include drinking alcohol, have a designated driver. Use caution in work zones and remember to move over for emergency vehicles.

For those staying home who have barbecue treats on the menu, officials want to remind residents to place grills in a safe place and never use them indoors.

“Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, deck, tree branches or anything that could catch fire,” Chief County Fire Marshal John Weer said in the release.

Other recommendations are to keep a fireproof pan under the grill to catch ashes or grease. Be ready to close the grill lid and turn off the grill to cut off the fuel if necessary. Always supervise a grill when in use and make sure everyone, including pets, stays away from the grill. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling raw poultry or meat. Cook food thoroughly; especially beef, pork and poultry, and refrigerate all perishable food within two hours.

If you plan to use a fire pit, be sure to put out the fire completely before leaving it unattended.

Another popular summer activity involves water, which also poses hazards. Officials urge parents to supervise children both in and near water. Never swim alone, and wear life vests while boating. The latter pastime should also include precautions such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, and first aid kit. For more online information about water and boating safety, visit

Anyone spending time outdoors should be mindful of sun and heat safety. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and apply it generously throughout the day. Wear a hat and sunglasses and drink lots of water to stay well-hydrated. If you get overheated, get to a shaded area or go indoors with air-conditioning as soon as possible. Never leave pets or children in a vehicle, which can heat up very quickly, and keep strenuous activity to a minimum during the hottest part of the day.

“Remember, don’t forget about your pets; keep them well hydrated and if they are outdoors in the shade,” Robert Kagel, director of the Chester County Department of Emergency Services, said in the release.

For more information on summer safety tips, please visit or


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