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Summer Safety

Prioritize your health and safety this summer

For many, summer brings a change of pace with opportunities for fun in the sun and warm-weather adventures. Whether you're hiking on an extended camping trip or grilling a quick weeknight bite, a few safety precautions can go a long way toward keeping your favorite summer pasttimes low risk.

  • Never drink alcohol when swimming.
  • Accurately consider your swimming ability when determining when and where to swim.
  • Use SPF 30+ sunscreen, reapplying every two hours, and/or wear breathable clothing layers to protect yourself from the sun.
  • Be aware of surf conditions and rip tides.
  • Pack to dress for the weather, researching expected daily temperature fluctuations.
  • Set up camp during daylight hours.
  • Take any necessary, location-specific precautions to secure food and trash from foraging animals.
  • Know the location of the nearest park ranger station and where you can access cellular service in the event of an emergency. Know how to describe your location to emergency services.
  • Always extinguish campfires completely before leaving.
  • Familiarize yourself with basic first aid, and carry a well-stocked emergency kit.
  • Follow the "Leave No Trace" principles to minimize environmental impact.
  • Tell someone about where you will be camping, any hikes you may take and when you expect to return.
  • Know your physical and mental limits.
Grilling Equipment safety
  • Be familiar with your equipment and its instructions for use before grilling.
  • Only grill in a well-ventilated area.
  • Look for long-handled utensils to keep your extremities away from heat sources.
Fire/heat source safety
  • Wear safe clothing. Avoid long or flowy layers.
  • Be ready to extinguish flames quickly if necessary.
  • Do not attempt to extinguish grease fires with water.
Food handling and cooking safety
  • Wash hands prior to food handling and after handling any raw meat.
  • Only use clean cooking utensils and surfaces.
  • Refrigerate perishable foods prior to grilling.
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure meat reached a temperature hot enough to kill harmful pathogens. Meat should register the below temperatures to best prevent foodborne illness:
    • Whole cuts of beef, pork, lamb and veal: 145°F (with a rest period of 3 mintues before carving or eating)
    • Fish: 145°F
    • Ground beef (including hamburger meat): 160°F
    • All poultry and pre-cooked meats, like hot dogs: 165°F
Avoid cross-contamination.
  • When grocery shopping, keep raw meat and poultry, including eggs, in separate bags rather than combining those items with food not intended to be cooked to a temperature hot enough to kill harmful pathogens.
  • Keep raw meat and any utensils or surfaces touched by the meat, its juices, or any marinades or sauces priro to cooking, separate from raw foods or foods not intended to reach a temperature hot enough to kill harmful bacteria.
  • Always wash hands after handling raw meat.
  • Do not return cooked meat to the same surface after cooking. Use clean plates or serving platters and utensils to handle raw products after cooking.
Avoid temperature abuse.
  • When grocery shopping, pick up any refrigerated items, including raw meat, poultry and seafood, last to reduce time spent unrefrigerated during transport.
  • When transporting raw meat, poultry, seafood and other refrigerated items, keep at 40°F or below in an insulated cooler.
  • Prior to cooking, keep meat, poultry and seafood refrigerated until ready to cook.
  • Refrigerate food, including any leftovers, within two hours of cooking. (Refrigerate food within one hour of cooking if temperatures are above 90°F outside.)

Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness, especially in combination with certain medical conditions. Pregnancy, allergies and certain medical conditions or immunodeficiencies may warrant additional food handling steps or procedures. Consumers should consult with their primary care physician regarding any additional precautions.

  • Stay on marked trails and paths to avoid becoming lost or injured in unfamiliar territory and/or terrain.
  • Pack plenty of essentials: water, snacks, flashlight, a first aid kit, charged phone with emergency contacts and a backup battery.
  • Let someone know of your plans and expected return time when venturing outdoors.
  • Know your physical and mental limits. 
  • Plan your route with consideration given to stops for fuel, food and rest.
  • Monitor the weather forecast and map out any necessary route adjustments prior to departure.
  • Give your car a once-over. Check your oil level, tire pressure, wiper blades, wiper fluid and spare tire, etc. (Some auto repair shops have a check-up option that may be a helpful resource pre-trip.)
  • Get adequate rest. Driving while tired is very dangerous.
  • Have your GPS handy, and bring back-up directions in case of technological failure.
  • Watch out for road hazards and erratic and/or drunk drivers.
  • Know how to change a spare tire!
  • Let someone know your intended route and expected arrival time. 
  • Wear protective clothing, hats and sunshades.
  • Use SPF 30+ sunscreen, and reapply every two hours.
  • Stay hydrated, and drink water throughout the day.

What is heat exhaustion and how do you prevent it?

Heat exhaustion is the body's response to an excessive loss of water and salt, usually through excessive sweating, dizziness, headache, nausea, weakness, unsteady gait, muscle cramping and fatigue.

Heat exhaustion can be prevented by drinking plenty of fluids, wearing light clothing and sunscreen, and a variety of other ways. Learn more about heat-related illnesses at


  • Use technology wisely, taking precautions against scams and identity theft schemes.
  • Download maps, translation apps, and emergency contacts prior to departure for easy access regardless of service availability.
  • Keep important documents and IDs secure. Consider making copies to store securely on your person.
  • Stay hydrated and well-rested for optimum decision making during extended travels.
  • Research destination(s) prior to departure to learn general information about culture, and local law, in addition to any wildlife, vegetation or common communicable diseases that may impact your packing and trip preparations.
  • Visit your physician to obtain any location-specific vaccines and/or medications required for your destination(s). 
  • Check for any travel adisories prior to departure.
  • Obtain any necessary authorizations or visas prior to departure.
  • Know the locations of and/or contact information for the nearest embassies and consulates.
  • Learn CPR to be better prepared to assist in a water emergency.
  • Use life jackets when in open water or while boating.
  • Do not dive into unknown or shallow water.