Tag Archives: safety


Water Safety this Summer

SPASH!! Safety on the Water

The fun of the summer is here and that means long summer days enjoying the lake, pools, beaches and outdoors. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in all the fun and forget about our safety. We want everyone to stay safe this summer, so here are a few reminders about safety that we hope you’ll remember this year!

When you’re planning a great day of fishing, it’s important to fish with a buddy. So many accidents can happen when you’re fishing alone, so grab a friend and enjoy the time together.

If you’re 14 years or older you are not required to wear a life jacket, but similar to “Seat Belts Saves Lives,” so do life jackets. Everyone, regardless of age, is strongly encouraged to wear a life jacket while on the water.

Check your safety equipment prior to launching a water vessel. Local North Carolina Wild Life and Sheriff’s personnel will be patrolling the water for your safety. It’s important to make sure you have the required safety equipment necessary to use the watercraft. Make sure all life jackets are up to date and there are enough for those using the watercraft.  Be prepared to show proper personal identification, watercraft registration and have all safety equipment required prior to use.

Obey weight limits or occupancy safety regulations on your watercraft.

Individuals under the age of 14 are not allowed to operate a personal watercraft. A person between ages 14 and 16 can operate a personal watercraft if accompanied by a person who is at least 18 or has proof of a boating safety certification. This certification was put into law in July 2009. It required individuals to have working knowledge of water vessels and has passed the safety course. For more information on this course, contact the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department.

Do not participate in reckless behavior while riding or driving a watercraft. Some of these behaviors include:

  • Unreasonably or unnecessarily weaving through traffic in congested areas
  • Jumping the wake of another vessel within 100 feet
  • Intentionally approaching another vessel in order to swerve at the last moment to avoid collision
  • Operating contrary to the “rules of the road.” An example would be following too closely

No one should operate any motorboat or vessel, or manipulate any water skis, surfboard, or similar device while under the influence or impaired by any substance.

ALCOA does NOT allow any alcohol products of any kind at their accesses, including the Pebble Beach and Buddle Creek Swimming Areas. Pets are also not allowed at swimming areas.

Whatever way you choose to enjoy your summer on the water, take these safety concerns with you so everyone has an enjoyable and safe time. This information was provided by the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department. If you have any questions related to water safe visit NCWildLife.org.


Summer Picnic Tips

Take Safety on Your Picnic

Jeannie M. Leonard

Family and Consumer Science Extension Agent

iStock_000017115104XSmall_300x199Picnicking is a special part of many summertime activities. If picnic foods are not handled safely, they can cause food borne illness. To prevent illness, take safety on your picnic.

Picnic foods can be hazardous for several reasons. Food receives a lot of handling. Picnic foods—such as potato or macaroni salads, sandwich fillings, hamburger patties, and cut watermelon—often receive a lot of handling during preparation. Handling increases the risk of contamination with harmful bacteria.

Food is not cooled rapidly after cooling is another hazard. Some common picnic foods require precooking and are prepared in large quantities. Cooked foods must be rapidly cooled by putting in shallow pans and refrigerating immediately after cooking so harmful bacteria does not grow. Warm temperatures promote bacterial growth.great-picnic-food

Another hazard is that equipment to keep hot food hot and cold food cold is usually not used and food sits out for long periods of time. Warm temperatures support the growth of harmful bacteria. The longer food is at warm temperatures, the more likely food borne illness will result.

The following guidelines will help keep your picnic food safe:

  • Wash hands before handling food and use clean utensils and containers. Dirty hands, utensils, containers and any work surfaces can contaminate food with harmful bacteria and viruses.
  • Do not prepare foods more than one day before your picnic unless it is to be frozen. Cooking foods in advance allows for more opportunities for bacteria to grow. Cooked foods need to be rapidly cooled in shallow pans. Spread the food out in as many pans as is needed so that food is no more than two inches deep. Over 67% of reported cases of food borne illnesses are due to improper cooling. Frozen foods can be used if thawed in the refrigerator.
  • Mayonnaise-based foods need to be kept cold. Mayonnaise alone is too acidic for bacteria to grow in it. However, when mayonnaise is mixed with other foods, (particularly those that have been handled a lot and/or are protein foods), bacteria can grow if this mixture is kept too warm.
  • Cut melons need to be kept cold. Many people do not realize that melons, such as watermelon and cantaloupe, can cause food borne illness. Bacteria, such as Salmonella and Shigella (common causes of food borne illness), are often present on the rind. Therefore, be sure to wash melons thoroughly before cutting, then promptly refrigerate cut pieces. Melons, unlike most other fruits, are not acidic and so can support the growth of harmful bacteria.
  • Keep cold food cold. You need to keep cold food at 40 degrees F. or colder to prevent bacterial growth. To do so, pack cold foods in a sturdy, insulated cooler with plenty of ice or frozen gel packs. Freeze your own blocks of ice in milk cartons or plastic containers for use in the cooler. Put cold foods in water-proof containers or wrap in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and completely immerse in the ice inside the cooler. If using frozen gel packs or containers of homemade ice, place them between packages of food. Keep the cooler closed until ready to use the contents.
  • The trunk of your car can reach temperatures of 150 degrees F., so it is best to transport coolers in the passenger area of the car. When you arrive at the picnic site, put a blanket over the cooler and place it in the shade to maintain cold temperatures. Keep the cooler closed until ready to use the contents.
  • Keep hot food hot. You should keep hot foods at 140 degrees F. or hotter to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Takeout foods or foods cooked just before being transported to the picnic can be carried hot. Wrap hot food in towels, then in newspaper, and place inside a box or heavy paper bag. Keep these foods warm on a lit grill or use within one hour.
  • If you cannot keep cold food cold and hot food hot, take foods that do not need refrigeration. For example, peanut butter sandwiches, dried fruit, nuts, unpeeled fresh fruit (apples, oranges, bananas), jelly sandwiches, unopened cans of food (meat, fish, or fruit), cookies, cakes, and crackers are all good choices.
  • Wash your hands. Pack moist towelettes if you think your picnic site might not have hand washing facilities available. Hands carry harmful bacteria and viruses that contaminate food and cause illness.
  • Pack plenty of utensils and dishware. Never use the utensils and dishware that have touched by raw foods, such as meat, fish and poultry, to store fresh or cooked foods unless they have been washed between uses. Juices from some raw foods contain harmful bacteria that can contaminate other foods and cause food borne illness. Because proper washing might be difficult at a picnic, pack extra plates and utensils to prevent cross-contamination. Better yet, consider using disposable plates.
  • Whether you are cooking indoors or outside on a grill, meat and poultry must be cooked thoroughly to ensure that harmful bacteria are destroyed. Grill raw poultry until the juices run clear and there is no pink close to the bone. Hamburgers should not be pink in the center.
  • Prevent contamination of food by insects by keeping the foods covered. Many insects can carry harmful bacteria and viruses on their bodies.
  • At the end of the picnic, you should throw away leftovers, because most of them have been sitting out for more than one hour and have had many people handling them. The more time that food has been sitting at unsafe temperatures, the more likely harmful bacteria has grown.
  • Cold foods kept in a cooler that still has ice may be safe. If the ice is melted, throw out the food. Cold water cannot keep foods cold enough to be safe.