Health - Public Health News

Posted on: June 28, 2023

Hot Safety Tips for a Cool 4th of July Weekend

As we celebrate Independence Day with friends and family, staying safe is a priority alongside having fun. Here are a few safety tips for your upcoming outdoor barbecue, water play, or fireworks experience:

Food-Borne Illnesses 

If you’re on grill duty, remember to follow proper food safety to prevent foodborne illnesses. Bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli cause foodborne illnesses, and are most often spread by unwashed hands or uncooked or under-cooked meats or seafood. Symptoms from foodborne illness can be as mild as a stomach ache or serious enough to require hospitalization. 

You can prevent foodborne illnesses by following these food safety tips: 

  • Do not prepare food for others if you are sick.
  • Wash your hands before and after cooking or eating. Use soap and water to wash your hands, especially if your hands are visibly dirty. You can use hand sanitizers or disposable hand wipes if you don’t have access to soap and water..
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before cooking or eating raw -bacteria can be transferred by handling or cutting. 
  • Store raw meat and raw seafood away from ready to eat food.
  • Cook meat to a safe internal temperature. Thaw frozen meat in the refrigerator, or seal it in packages and thaw in cold water. Never place food on any dish that previously held raw meat or eggs. 
  • Keep food below 41 F or above 135 F to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Store leftovers in a container with lots of ice. 

Find more information on our Food Safety page and the Washington State Department of Health’s (DOH) Barbecue and Picnic Food Safety page . 

Water Recreation

You can prevent drowning and other water injuries by following these tips: 

  • Supervise young children around water. A child should never be unsupervised when in or near water. 
  • Wear personal floatation devices when boating.
  • Enroll kids in swimming lessons.
  • Take a first aid-CPR course.
  • Use caution when swimming in lakes or river - water that is warm on the surface, may be much colder below.  

In the United States, drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death for children between the ages of 1 and 14. Visit DOH’s Water Recreation Safety page for more information. 


Check the rules where you live before setting off your own fireworks. Every city, county, or town has their own rules and regulations for using fireworks. Make sure you only buy fireworks that are legal in the area you intend to use them.

  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities including sparkler use. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Place fireworks on a flat, level surface. Make sure there are no people, animals, or flammable objects near the firework after it’s lit. Never point fireworks at others. 
  • Only light a firework once. Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully. 
  • Soak spent fireworks in a bucket for several hours before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Keep alcohol and fireworks as separate activities. Mixing alcohol and fireworks greatly increases the likelihood of injury. 

Hundreds of people end up in the emergency room after improper firework handling. Using fireworks safely demands preparation, responsibility and attention.

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