Pennsylvania – If you’re having a cookout for the 4th of July, here are some tips to make sure that everyone is staying safe!

COVID-19 – Wear a mask if there is a chance of coming within 6 feet of someone who does not live in your household, even if you are outside. If you more than 6 feet apart from each other and outdoors, the mask is not mandated. Otherwise, Pennsylvania officials say masks are mandatory in public for anyone who would not suffer health issues from wearing them. Masks are the main way of slowing the spread of COVID-19, as it catches moist air and wet droplets, which is the most common way the virus is transferred from person to person. You might have COVID-19 and currently not show any symptoms but would still be able to spread the virus. Please also continue to wash your hands frequently, don’t touch your face, avoid large gatherings, and stay home if you are sick.

Fireworks – Handle all fireworks as though they are dangerous… because they are! Don’t let children play with fireworks, and do not light them if you have been drinking or are otherwise impaired. Never point a firework at another person, animal, building, or object. Keep your body, especially your face, away from the fuse as you’re lighting it. When it’s lit, put it on a safe base and run away. If the firework is a dud, leave it to soak in a bucket of water so it doesn’t accidentally reignite.

Food – Although you might be holding your cookout outdoors, you’ll want to keep your food in either a fridge or a cooler until it is ready to serve. If there are leftovers, put them immediately into the refrigerator or throw them away. No food should ever be left out for more than two hours. Make sure your meat is thoroughly cooked. Use a meat thermometer to make sure that your food is cooked to the Food Safety guidelines… 145 degrees for beef, lamb, or pork, and chicken should be at least 160 degrees.

Sun – Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear sunscreen, and continue applying it throughout the day. Wear light clothing and a hat. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Stay out of the sun as much as possible. If you feel light-headed, go inside and turn on the air conditioning or a fan.

Alcohol – Be smart about how much alcohol you drink. The summer heat can make you feel the effects of alcohol more strongly. For every drink that you have, take a break with a glass of water. Give yourself a limit and stick to it. Watch your drinks and do not finish a drink if there is a chance someone could have put something into it. Always designate a sober driver before you start drinking. Never drive intoxicated or otherwise impaired. It is always worth it to call a trusted friend, a taxi, or stay where you are.

Listen to the full Contact Show with Joe Taylor and Beth Sawyer from the American Red Cross.