Fireworks Safety

June is Firework Awareness Month. As the Fourth of July approaches, NJ residents should keep firework safety in mind. The following tips will ensure plenty of fun, safe outdoor evenings:
Obey local laws regarding fireworks: New Jersey has made fireworks illegal to sell, use or transport fireworks. Only paper or plastic caps for use in toy guns are legal. Residents can buy fireworks out-of-state, but cannot transport fireworks into NJ.
The kids can watch: Adults should supervise and manage fireworks, keeping fireworks out of the hands of children. Adults should not consume alcohol and attempt to handle fireworks.
Take it outside: Fireworks should be kept a reasonable distance from buildings, houses and vehicles. Find a clear area for firework activities, and keep fireworks out of your pockets during transportation.
Protect your eyes and body: Wear safety goggles when managing fireworks, and never point a lit firework toward anyone’s body or face.
Have water ready: A bucket of water and a charged water-hose serve to wet spent fireworks and douse any fires/smoke. “Dud” fireworks should not be relit, but doused immediately in a bucket of water.
Safe disposal: After dousing spent fireworks, dispose them in a metal trash can away from any building, house or vehicle until the next day. 
For more information on firework safety, please visit:
Firework injuries can be severe, and even in New Jersey where fireworks are illegal, several people are injured or killed yearly from irresponsible use. If you or anyone you know is injured handling fireworks, contact emergency services immediately.
Burns from fires or explosives require immediate treatment. In the case of a burn, remove all burned clothing. If clothing sticks to the skin, cut or tear the cloth around the burned area. Also, all tight-fitting clothing, jewelry, and belts should be removed due to immediate swelling of burned areas. Identify the degree of burn before providing treatment, and contact emergency services if the burn has penetrated the skin.
First-degree burns: Red and painful to the touch, these burns do not require professional medical attention. To treat, apply a cool wet compress or immerse in cool, fresh water. Once the pain has subsided, cover the burn with a sterile non-adhesive bandage or clean cloth. Do not apply ointments, as these may cause infection, but consider over-the-counter medications to reduce pain and inflammation. If the victim is an infant or elderly, seek emergency medical attention.
Second and Third-Degree Burns: The skin is penetrated by the burn. Deep reddening of the skin, blisters, leaking fluid, dry or leathery skin indicate second and third-degree burns. These burns require immediate medical treatment. Do not attempt to treat serious burns unless you are a trained health professional.
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Father’s Day: Don’t Put Food Poisoning on the Menu

Treating your dad, father-in-law, grandfather, or uncle to a nice home cooked meal on Father’s Day? As you plan, shop, prepare, and cook, keep in mind there is always a risk for food poisoning when cooking at home. The best course of action is to brush up on food safety basics before heading into the kitchen. Food poisoning can spoil his day just as easily as a burnt meal.
Quick facts about food poisoning:
·         It is generally a mild illness that most commonly results from poor food handling.
·         It usually occurs hours after eating contaminated food and can include nausea, fever, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea. 
·         Once symptoms develop they may last from several hours to several days.
·         It can be a serious issue for those in poor health, infants and children, the elderly, and pregnant women.
There is no way to be sure food is safe to eat unless you follow basic food safety practices from start to finish. Poison center experts suggest following the tips below to ensure a safe Father’s Day celebration. Remember not to prepare or cook food if you are feeling sick or have any type of respiratory illness or infection. This can put your guests at risk of becoming ill.
·         Wash hands with soap and warm running water for at least 20 seconds before preparing any foods and especially after handling raw meat, poultry, fish or eggs. You can estimate the proper time to wash by slowly singing the happy birthday song twice while you wash your hands. 
·         Wash food-contact surfaces (cutting boards, dishes, utensils, countertops) with hot, soapy water after preparing each food item. Never reuse utensils without careful cleaning; this is a source of contamination.
·         Rinse fruits and vegetables thoroughly under cool running water and use a produce brush to remove surface dirt.
·         Keep foods that will not be cooked from coming into contact with raw eggs, meat, poultry, or seafood. The same goes for kitchen utensils – do not use any kitchen utensil that has touched raw eggs, meat, poultry, or seafood on foods that will not be cooked. 
·         Store raw foods below cooked food in the refrigerator so that raw food cannot drip into cooked food and contaminate it.
·         Keep cutting boards separate. Use one board for raw meat, poultry, or seafood. Use another for board for raw fruits and vegetables.
·         Do not put cooked meats or other foods that are ready to eat on any unwashed plates that held any raw eggs, meat, poultry, seafood, or their juices.
·         Follow the cooking instructions on food packages.
·         Use a food thermometerto confirm that cooked foods (meat, poultry, and fish) have been properly cooked by reaching a safe internal temperature. Visit for proper temperatures of cooked foods.
·         Keep food hot after cooking (at 140 ˚F or above) to prevent bacteria from growing.
·         When reheating sauces, soups, and gravies, be sure to bring it to a rolling boil.
·         Eggs can be contaminated with Salmonella.  Cook eggs until the yolk and white are firm. Scrambled eggs should not be runny.
·         Don’t eat uncooked cookie dough, which may contain raw eggs. It is unsafe!
·         Avoid overstuffing your refrigerator. To keep foods properly chilled, cold air must circulate inside.
·         Defrost/thaw frozen food safely in the refrigerator, under cold running water, or in the microwave—never on the counter at room temperature. Be sure to cook thawed foods immediately.  
·         Allow enough time to properly thaw food. In the event you do not have enough time to defrost/thaw frozen food, you can safely cook it frozen. Remember to increase your cooking time. Frozen meat or poultry will take 50% longer to cook than if it was defrosted/thawed.
·         Check to make sure both refrigerators and freezers are set at proper temperatures. Refrigerators set at or below 40°F and freezers set at 0°F.
·         Refrigerate or freeze perishable foods such leftovers, pies, etc. within two hours. Cut this time to one hour during the summer months.
·         Leftovers should be used within three to four days, unless frozen.
·         When in doubt, throw it out. Don’t taste any food that looks or smells questionable.
Safe Grilling:
·         Store charcoal lighter fluid in locked cabinets, out of sight and reach of children and pets.  Swallowing lighter fluid can lead to serious poisoning. 
·         When taking cooked food off the grill, do not put it back on the same plate that held raw food.
·         Turn meats over at least once to cook evenly.
·         Do not partially grill meat or poultry and finish cooking later.
·         Use a meat thermometer to make sure meats have reached the proper internal temperature. The color of meat and poultry is not a good indicator of safety.
·         Never use your gill indoors, in a garage, shed, etc. Carbon monoxide poisoning can result.
Be sure to keep these tips in mind as you cook your Father’s Day meal. “If you should run into a potential problem at any point during the cooking process, we are here to help. Every minute counts in poisoning situations so do not take chances by either waiting until symptoms occur or waste valuable time looking up information on the Internet,said Bruce Ruck, Pharm.D., NJ Poison Center.
“I would like to call your attention to some concerns we have for children unrelated to food poisoning,” said Ruck. Fuel oil (most commonly used in patio torches) is a dangerous poison if ingested. The oily liquid can easily get into the lungs potentially causing pneumonia, lung damage, and even death. Even small amounts can be life-threatening. Since fuel oils are often the same color as beverages, like apple juice, children often confused the two, setting the scene for a perfect storm. Be mindful that many of the lamps/torches containing these oils are not child-resistant and must be kept away from both children and pets. When not in use, store the lamps and extra oils, the same way you would store any chemical – Lock them up and keep them out of the sight.
During adult celebrations, alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, mixed drinks, liquor, etc.) are often part of the menu. Ruck said, “Alcohol can be a deadly poison to children because they are small and their livers are not fully developed.”  If ingested, the alcohol can lower their blood sugar potentially causing seizures, coma, and even death. Remember to always empty beverage glasses and place them out of sight and reach of curious children. The same advice goes for your pets; alcohol can make them very sick as well.
If you have questions about food preparation/handling, foodborne illness, or any poison exposure it’s good to know help is just a phone call away. Having a poison expert give you exact instructions for your specific situation can help significantly during those critical first few minutes. A quick response by both the caller and the poison center expert can make a difference in preventing serious injury and saving lives If someone is unconscious, not breathing, seizing/convulsing, bleeding profusely, difficult to arouse/wake up, etc. call 911 immediately, otherwise call the NJ Poison Experts at 1-800-222-1222

Help is Just a Phone Call Away!

Source: Steven Marcus, MD, Executive Director and Medical Director, Bruce Ruck, Pharm. D, Drug and Information
New Jersey Poison Information and Education System (NJPIES)