Campfire Safety

 

campfire

Let’s hope that summer will bring a return to activities we love, even if they are in our backyard. 

Most camping brochures feature a picture of adults and kids sitting around a campfire toasting marshmallows and telling stories. But, a campfire requires following safety guidelines if campers are to be safe and the campground protected against fire.

The following campfire safety tips are from Idaho Firewise.

Most campgrounds already have preexisting fire rings to use. Unless the fire ring is in a dangerous spot, you should build your fire there. The campground owners have likely already deemed this as a safe location to build a campfire. The fire ring will help contain sparks and prevent your fire from spreading.

If your campsite does not have a fire ring, you will need to create one. First find a spot that meets these criteria:

  • Downwind at least 15 feet away from your tent and firewood
  • Away from trees, bushes, logs, stumps and overhanging branches
  • Away from dry grass and forest debris
  • Away from any other flammable items

If your campsite does have a fire ring already, check if it meets the above criteria too. The landscape around your campsite could have changed since the fire ring was initially built. There might now be a branch that overhangs the current fire ring. For example, now there might be branches overhanging the old fire ring.

Once you have chosen where to build your campfire, you need to ensure the area is completely clear of any combustible material that could possibly ignite. It is best to clear the ground right down to the soil, and out five (5) feet from the fire pit. Fires can spread underground through root systems or decaying material. Surrounding twigs and dry leaves can easily catch fire from a wayward spark.

After the ground has been cleared, dig a shallow pit about two (2) feet across and encircle this pit with a ring of medium-sized rocks. These rocks should be tightly placed together, without any gaps where sparks could fly through. Remove any small, loose stones from the pit that could potentially explode from the fire’s heat.

Before you begin building the campfire, make sure you have equipment on hand to extinguish a fire. A responsible camper will not light the first match until he or she is sure there is a bucket of water or sand nearby to douse unruly flames in the event of an emergency. You will need a large bucket of water and a shovel. Keep these things close enough to the fire pit that they are quickly accessible in an emergency.

Avoid using lighter fluid, or any other chemicals, to start your fire. These fuels are dangerous to use in the wilderness. They can unexpectedly flare-up and catch your clothing on fire. Always use a lighter or match to ignite the kindling. Do not discard any used matches until they are cool to the touch.

While your campfire is burning, never leave it unattended. Despite safety precautions, the campfire could spread from your fire pit. You need to remain in the area to ensure your campfire doesn’t spread.

Be careful what you burn in a campfire. Try to stick to manageable pieces of firewood that easily fit within your fire pit. It is not a good idea to burn large logs that stick out past the fire pit. Also, avoid burning fresh branches that give off excess sparks.

Before you go to sleep, or when you leave the campsite, you must fully extinguish your campfire. First, douse the flames by pouring water on the fire. However, you are not done yet. Just because you can’t see flames, does not mean the fire cannot re-ignite. Hot embers will continue smoldering for hours. To deal with the embers, stir the coals and add more water. Then cover the coals with dirt or sand. Feel the ashes with your hand to make sure there are no hot coals left.

It is far too easy for a campfire to spread and become a forest fire. When you are camping, it is your responsibility to protect the forest from your campfire. Follow these simple campfire safety rules and use common sense. Sometimes, it is not safe to have a campfire at all.

 

Additional Source:

https://explorenewtrails.com/tips-for-camping-with-kids/ 

Pocket

Holiday Food Safety Tips from the USDA

food

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Offers the Following Food Safety Tips for the Holiday.

  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before and after handling any food. Wash food-contact surfaces (cutting boards, dishes, utensils, counter tops) with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item. Rinse fruits and vegetables thoroughly under cool running water and use a produce brush to remove surface dirt.
  • Do not rinse raw meat and poultry before cooking in order to avoid spreading bacteria to areas around the sink and counter tops.
  • When shopping in the store, storing food in the refrigerator at home, or preparing meals, keep foods that won’t be cooked separate from raw eggs, meat, poultry or seafood—and from kitchen utensils used for those products.
  • Consider using one cutting board only for foods that will be cooked (such as raw meat, poultry, and seafood) and another one for those that will not (such as raw fruits and vegetables).
  • Do not put cooked meat or other food that is ready to eat on an unwashed plate that has held any raw eggs, meat, poultry, seafood, or their juices.
  • Use a food thermometer to make sure meat, poultry, and fish are cooked to a safe internal temperature. To check a turkey for safety, insert a food thermometer into the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. The turkey is safe when the temperature reaches 165°F. If the turkey is stuffed, the temperature of the stuffing should be 165°F.

  • Bring sauces, soups, and gravies to a rolling boil when reheating.
  • Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm. When making your own eggnog or other recipe calling for raw eggs, use pasteurized shell eggs, liquid or frozen pasteurized egg products, or powdered egg whites.
  • Don’t eat uncooked cookie dough, which may contain raw eggs.
  • Refrigerate leftovers and takeout foods—and any type of food that should be refrigerated, including pie—within two hours.
  • Set your refrigerator at or below 40°F and the freezer at 0°F. Check both periodically with an appliance thermometer.
  • Thaw frozen food safely in the refrigerator, under cold running water, or in the microwave—never at room temperature. Cook food thawed in cold water or in the microwave immediately.
  • Allow enough time to properly thaw food. For example, a 20-pound turkey needs four to five days to thaw completely in the refrigerator.
  • Don’t taste food that looks or smells questionable. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Leftovers should be used within three to four days, unless frozen.

 Keep Your Family Safe From Food Poisoning…Check your steps at FoodSafety.gov

Over the Counter Medicines and Driving

medicines

The Food and Drug Administration shared the following release. It is about the use of over the counter medicines and how they may impact on your driving.

Anyone who operates a vehicle of any type—car, bus, train, plane, or boat—needs to know there are over-the-counter medicines that can make you drowsy and can affect your ability to drive and operate machinery safely.

Over-the-counter medicines are also known as OTC or nonprescription medicines. All these terms mean the same thing: medicines that you can buy without a prescription from a healthcare professional. Each OTC medicine has a Drug Facts label to guide you in your choices and to help keep you safe. OTC medicines are serious medicines and their risks can increase if you don’t choose them carefully and use them exactly as directed on the label.

According to Ali Mohamadi, M.D., a medical officer at FDA, “You can feel the effects some OTC medicines can have on your driving for a short time after you take them, or their effects can last for several hours. In some cases, a medicine can cause significant ‘hangover-like’ effects and affect your driving even the next day.” If you have not had enough sleep, taking medicine with a side effect that causes drowsiness can add to the sleepiness and fatigue you may already feel. Being drowsy behind the wheel is dangerous; it can impair your driving skills.

Choosing and Using  Medicines Safely

You should read all the sections of the Drug Facts label before you use an OTC medicine. But, when you know you have to drive, it’s particularly important to take these simple steps:

First, read the “active ingredients” section and compare it to all the other medicines you are using. Make sure you are not taking more than one medicine with the same active ingredient. Then make sure the “purpose” and “uses” sections of the label match or fit the condition you are trying to treat.

Next, carefully read the entire “Warnings” section. Check whether the medicine should not be used with any condition you have, or whether you should ask a health care professional whether you can use it. See if there’s a warning that says when you shouldn’t use the medicine at all, or when you should stop using it.

The “When using this product” section will tell you how the medicine might make you feel, and will include warnings about drowsiness or impaired driving.

Look for such statements as “you may get drowsy,” “marked drowsiness will occur,” “Be careful when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery” or “Do not drive a motor vehicle or operate machinery when using this product.”

Other information you might see in the label is how the medicine reacts when taken with other products like alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers, and other effects the OTC medicine could have on you. When you see any of these statements and you’re going to drive or operate machinery, you may want to consider choosing another medicine for your problem this time. Look for an OTC medicine that treats your condition or problem but has an active ingredient or combination of active ingredients that don’t cause drowsiness or affect your ability to drive or operate machinery.

Talk to your healthcare professional if you need help finding another medicine to treat your condition or problem. Then, check the section on “directions” and follow them carefully.

Here are some of the most common OTC medicines that can cause drowsiness or impaired driving:

  • Antihistamines: These are medicines that are used to treat things like runny nose, sneezing, itching of the nose or throat, and itchy or watery eyes. Some antihistamines are marketed to relieve cough due to the common cold. Some are marketed to relieve occasional sleeplessness. Antihistamines also can be added to other active ingredients that relieve cough, reduce nasal congestion, or reduce pain and fever. Some antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in Benadryl, can make you feel drowsy, unfocused and slow to react.
  • Antidiarrheals: Some antidiarrheals, medicines that treat or control symptoms of diarrhea, can cause drowsiness and affect your driving. One of these is loperamide, the active ingredient in Imodium.
  • Anti-emetics: Anti-emetics, medicines that treat nausea, vomiting and dizziness associated with motion sickness, can cause drowsiness and impair driving as well.

“If you don’t read all your medicine labels and choose and use them carefully,” says Dr. Mohamadi, “you can risk your safety. If your driving is impaired, you could risk your safety, and the safety of your passengers and others.”

 

 

Holiday Shopping…Be Careful Out There!

It’s holiday shopping time. A time when millions of Americans, mostly women, who already have a full plate of responsibilities, add shopping for family and friends to their plates. Is it any wonder that we are so  focused on shopping lists, budget concerns and holiday deadlines that we may forget to be aware of our surroundings and our personal safety when shopping?

image of women holiday shopping

Here are a few things to remember when holiday shopping in shopping malls, local stores, holiday fairs:

The Parking Area:

  • Pay attention to your surroundings; don’t walk and text. You will make yourself an easy target
  • Park in a well-lighted space as close to the entrance of the store as possible and near other vehicles.
  • Before you get out of your car, roll up the windows and lock your car doors when you get out of the car.
  • Have your keys in-hand when approaching your car. Check the back seat before getting into your car.
  • Don’t leave packages in plain view either in the passenger or back seat of the car. Put your packages in the trunk before leaving one parking lot and driving to another.
  • If you take packages to the car but plan to return to the store or mall, put the gifts in the trunk, then  drive your car to a new location within the parking lot.
  • Don’t carry too many packages at once. You are easy prey for shoplifters and pickpockets.

Holiday Shopping in Stores:

  • Carry your purse close to your body, don’t let it hang on your shoulder, by the straps.
  • Keep your purse on you, don’t put it in a shopping cart or place it on a check-out counter while you pay for what you are buying.
  • Use credit cards or checks instead of cash. Make sure that only one credit slip is printed with your charge card.
  • Wait until asked before taking out your credit card or checkbook.  A  thief can look over your shoulder and get your account information.

Good hunting for those holiday shopping bargains!

Source: The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC)

A Backyard Swings and Playsets Guide by ConsumerAffairs

As parents and grandparents, we want to make sure that all the play equipment our little ones use is safe and sturdy. When I received an email from Marissa Boles, ConsumerAffairs.com about their Back Yard Swings and Playsets Guide, I invited her to share it. 

 

Backyard Swings and Playsets

“Backyard swings and playsets are popular with families with children, daycare centers, churches and neighborhood associations as a great way for kids to be physically active while using their imaginations. They are made from multiple materials, come in various sizes and can be customized with a variety of accessories.

Quality backyard swing and playsets can cost a lot of money depending on the size, material and features that can be added to each one. With so many options it is a good idea to compare these features before making a purchase.”

The ConsumerAffairs Backyard Swings and Playsets guide includes tips and advice consumers should take into considering when choosing a backyard swing or playset. Our guide includes information on the most important features of backyard playsets. We highlight the customizable additions such as slides, swings, clubhouses, bridges, and rope or rock walls that consumers can choose from to make their playset unique.

Our guide contrasts the types of materials playsets can be made of such as wood, metal, and vinyl as well as the price differences associated with each. It also contrasts different types of playset structures such as A-frame, adjustable base, angled-base, and multi-deck playsets and the benefits associated with each structure. The location, terrain, and age of children who will be using the playset will determine which structure is best.

Lastly, the guide compares some of the top national brands and includes expert and verified consumer reviews for parents. It helps them to find the perfect playset to meet their family’s needs!

ConsumerAffairs believes everyone deserves to make smart buying decisions.  We aim to provide readers with the most up-to-date information available about today’s consumer products and services.

Please review the guide which will help you to feel confident about purchasing  Backyard Swings and Playsets. The guide is a quick read. It touches on all that you want and need to know before buying backyard equipment that your children can enjoy for years. Please visit www.consumeraffairs.com/homeowners/backyard-playsets/

Marissa Boles, promoter of Backyard Swings and Playsets Guide

Marissa Boles, Content Marketing Specialist
https://www.consumeraffairs.com/(918) 553-5594

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