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Westchester County

Release Date: May 27, 2016
Memorial Day Safety Tips

Sherlita Amler, MD, Commissioner, Department of Health
Ned McCormack, Communications Director
Contact:  Caren Halbfinger (914) 813-5013 / after hours: 813-5000

For Immediate Release: May 25, 2016
Health Department offers a dozen outdoor safety tips for the summer season
As Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start of the summer season approaches, Westchester County Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, and the Westchester County Department of Health are providing local residents a dozen outdoor safety tips for the summer season.
            “Follow our food safety tips, use insect repellents and sunscreen and stay hydrated, so that this weekend’s celebrations can be the start of a healthy season of outdoor enjoyment,” Amler said. “It’s also a good idea to remove items from your yard that could hold standing water to avoid breeding your own mosquitoes.”
            11 more tips from the Health Department:

  • Barbecue safely by thawing meat and poultry slowly in the refrigerator or under cold running water before cooking. Harmful bacteria usually grow in the "danger zone" between 40° and 140° F, so marinate and keep all meat and poultry in the refrigerator until you are ready to grill it.
  • Transport food in a cooler filled with ice to keep it at 40°F or below.  Keep the cooler out of the direct sun and avoid opening the lid too often. Keep beverages in a separate cooler.
  • Cook your food to the right temperature, which is 160 degrees for ground beef, 150 degrees for pork, 165 degrees for chicken and hot dogs should be always be cooked to steaming hot (at least 165 degrees).  Always use a food thermometer to be sure the food has reached a safe internal temperature.
  • Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Discard any food left out for more than two hours after cooking, or one hour if it more than 90°F outside.
  • Don’t cross-contaminate. Don’t reuse marinades on cooked food unless you boil them first, and don’t use the same plate, cutting board and utensils for vegetables or for cooked food that you used for raw meat.
  • Wash hands, surfaces and utensils frequently with soap and water or antiseptic wipes.
  • To avoid heat exhaustion, take breaks from the sun and drink water or uncaffeinated beverages every hour. Signs of heat exhaustion include headache, nausea or vomiting, dizziness and exhaustion, as well as cool, moist, pale or flushed skin. Move out of the sun and apply cool, wet cloths to the skin.
  • Spray insect repellent containing DEET on your clothes and exposed skin to avoid mosquito bites, and follow the directions on the label.
  • Remove tires, trash can lids and buckets that can hold standing water to keep mosquitoes from breeding, add dunks to flower pot drip trays and birdbaths that must remain outdoors.
  • Avoid attracting animals by collecting and disposing of food and litter.
  • Perform tick checks on people and pets after spending time outdoors. To remove ticks safely, follow the steps at
For more information, like the Westchester County Health Department at, follow us on Twitter @wchealthdept, visit or call 914-813-5000.
Caren Halbfinger
Director, Public Affairs
Westchester County Health Department
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter
914-813-5013 phone; after hours: 914-813-5000