(HAUPPAUGE, NY, July 1, 2014)—Today, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Suffolk County Police Chief Jim Burke wished residents a happy and safe Fourth of July and summer. Both cautioned residents about the illegal use of fireworks and being responsible on the roads and waterways.
“With the upcoming Fourth of July holiday and the start of the summer season we would like to take the opportunity to remind the public to enjoy the season responsibly,” said County Executive Steve Bellone. “It just makes sense to take precautions to avoid tragedies. If you’re on the water, follow some basic rules and keep yourself and others around you out of harm’s way. Don’t drink and drive. Take the opportunity to designate a driver and you will be undertaking actions that help to save your life as well as others.”
Chief of Department James Burke said, “Enjoy the summer weather, the beaches and fireworks shows; don’t become an arrest or injury statistic.” He and other police officials warned that officers will be actively looking for boaters and drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The Suffolk County Police Department will have extra patrols on our roads and on our waterways, specifically tasked with identifying and arresting people who elect to drive a car or operate a boat while intoxicated.
Suffolk police also demonstrated the danger of acquiring and transporting fireworks in a vehicle. An SUV packed with the illegal fireworks was ignited with a single match highlighting the instantaneous combustion of the SUV and the potential deadly consequences for passengers.
Every year, nationwide, hundreds of individuals are injured as a result of using illegal fireworks. More than half of them are under the age of 15. The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Annual Report indicates that last year between June 22 and July 22, which is the prime fireworks season, more than 5,000 individuals were treated in hospital emergency rooms, nationwide, due to fireworks-related injuries. About 1,000 reported injuries involved sparklers and bottle rockets-fireworks that are frequently and incorrectly considered safe for young children.
Suffolk County Police Officers will be exercising zero tolerance when it comes to the possession, use or sale of illegal fireworks. Fireworks are a great way to celebrate this holiday but be smart and stay safe, and leave the fireworks to the professionals.
The Suffolk County Police Department also reminded people to avoid mishaps while boating, swimming or sunbathing by:
· Taking a safe-boating course
· Carefully monitoring weather conditions
· Know the “rules of the road” when operating a boat
· Equip the vessel with proper safety devices, including sufficient numbers of life jackets, distress signals, anchor with adequate rope length, first-aid kit and fire extinguishers
Boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs endangers everyone on the boat and nearby vessels.
If swimming or sunbathing
· Never swim alone
· Never leave children without supervision
· Don’t swim if impaired by drugs or alcohol
· Use a life jacket if swimming skills are not strong
· Keep a long pole or a ring buoy with a throwing line nearby
· Wear sunscreen and insect repellent
In addition, the Suffolk County Department of Health offers these pool safety tips:
• Vigilance-Parents/caregivers should supervise at all times, keeping a constant watch on children.
• Check the pool first if a child is missing.
• Remove towels on the fence and nearby shrubbery that can obstruct view of the pool.
• Maintain a four-sided, perimeter fence with a self-locking gate
• If the house forms one side of the fencing, all doors leading to the pool area must be self-locking.
• Put alarms on doors and pool surface to provide additional safety.
• Provide swimming lessons for all pool users.
• Remember children playing in water tire quickly; insist on rest breaks and watch for signs of fatigue.
• Explain pool rules - stress safety near water, no running or “horseplay.”
• Familiarize children with water depths and “safe areas” to play.
• Have a responsible person trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
• Post emergency phone numbers near the pool, and keep a phone nearby
• Empty/turn over all kiddie pools and portable pools when not in use.
• Make sure pool safety equipment is operational.
• Store pool chemicals safely, and install a pool safety cover.
• Remove ladders from above ground pools when not in use.
• Check state and local building codes for regulations on backyard pools.
“Water can be dangerous; people have to have safer behavior, in, on or near any water,” Bobby Hazen, founder of the Long Island Drowning Prevention Task Force, a community service organization. “Drowning is a leading cause of death for children under 5, so one our big messages is that a child should never be near the water without an adult, and no one should be swimming alone. Drowning is a silent event; it’s not like what you see in the movies. Always have a buddy.”
The Suffolk County Department of Health provides these tips for healthy outdoor eating:
From the Store: Home First
When shopping, buy cold food like meat and poultry last, right before checkout. Separate raw meat and poultry from other food in your shopping cart. To guard against cross-contamination — which can happen when raw meat or poultry juices drip on other food — put packages of raw meat and poultry into plastic bags.
Drive home directly from the grocery store. You may want to take a cooler with ice for perishables. Always refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours. Refrigerate within 1 hour when the temperature is above 90 °F.
At home, place meat and poultry in the refrigerator immediately. Freeze poultry and ground meat that won't be used in 1 or 2 days; freeze other meat within 4 to 5 days.
Completely thaw meat and poultry before grilling so it cooks more evenly. Use the refrigerator for slow, safe thawing or thaw sealed packages in cold water. For quicker thawing, you can microwave defrost if the food will be placed immediately on the grill.
Keep Everything Clean
Be sure there are plenty of clean utensils and platters. To prevent foodborne illness, don't use the same platter and utensils for raw and cooked meat and poultry. Harmful bacteria present in raw meat and poultry and their juices can contaminate safely cooked food.
If you're eating away from home, find out if there's a source of clean water. If not, bring water for preparation and cleaning. Or pack clean cloths, and moist towelettes for cleaning surfaces and hands.
Precooking food partially in the microwave, oven, or stove is a good way of reducing grilling time. Just make sure that the food goes immediately on the preheated grill to complete cooking.
Smoking is cooking food indirectly in the presence of a fire. It can be done in a covered grill if a pan of water is placed beneath the meat or poultry on the grill; and meats can be smoked in a "smoker," which is an outdoor cooker especially designed for smoking foods. Smoking is done much more slowly than grilling, so less tender meats benefit from this method, and a natural smoke flavoring permeates the meat. The temperature in the smoker should be maintained at 250 to 300 degrees F for safety.
Use a food thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe internal temperature.
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