With the Labor Day holiday approaching, it’s important to stay safe as we honor the American worker and enjoy one of the last weekends of summer. Peter J. McGuire, co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, once said this holiday celebrates those workers “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.” This year, many Americans will celebrate the grandeur of the outdoors with picnics and barbecues. Others will be on the road for one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

If your Post is hosting an event, follow these Labor Day safety tips to help your members and guests stay safe.

Food Safety

A warm summer day and an outdoor picnic are a great combo for Labor Day, but it’s also a pairing that can lead to an increased risk of foodborne illness. According to the USDA, the number of cases spikes during summer months. Help protect your Post members and guests from illness with these tips:

  • Wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly before preparation and serving.
  • Keep cold foods cold (below 40 degrees) and hot foods hot (above 120 degrees).
  • Avoid cross-contamination. Wash hands before and after handling raw meat and use separate plates and utensils for cooked and uncooked meats.
  • Refrigerate all perishable leftovers within 2 hours, or 1 hour if the temperature outside is above 90 degrees.
  • Keep deviled eggs, chicken salad, coleslaw and other perishable dishes on ice and in the shade.

Fireworks Safety

Fireworks are one of the best parts of a national summer holiday like Labor Day, but also one of the most dangerous. According to the National Safety Council, fireworks led to more than 12,000 personal injuries and eight deaths in 2017. Fireworks are also said to be responsible for an average of 18,500 fires each year. Protect your Post members and guests by observing these Labor Day firework safety tips:

  • Leave professional fireworks to the professionals, as they can be especially dangerous.
  • Handle even small fireworks with care. Sparklers burn at nearly 2,000 degrees, enough to cause serious burns.
  • Never re-light or pick up malfunctioning fireworks.
  • Help young children enjoy fireworks from a safe distance as an observer, not a participant.

Travel Safety

Even if members and guests are only traveling across town to your Post event, traffic may be heavy. According to AAA, more than 35 million Americans travel out of town on Labor Day weekend each year. Encourage your members and guests to be safe with these tips:

  • Allow extra time for travel and avoid excessive speed.
  • Buckle up and avoid distraction from the task at hand.
  • Drive defensively and remain alert for other drivers who could potentially be intoxicated.

Labor Day is a great time to enjoy the last days of summer. Make sure your members and guests leave your event with happy memories by staying safe this holiday weekend.