As one of CNN Money’s Top 100 Places to Live, Dover has a lot to offer its residents and guests during the summer months. Whether you are heading out for boating, the beach or the pool, or you are staying home for some backyard fun, there is much to enjoy in our thriving city.
To make sure your summer fun is safe and worry-free, keep safety in mind! A little attention to safety can mean the difference between a fun and carefree summer and accidents that ruin your summer, cost you a great deal of money, or worse.
Dover residents love a summer cookout as much as anyone else. Whether you live in the city or in an outlying area, grilling is a great way to cook for guests and enjoy the outdoors at the same time. But grills also present fire and burn dangers. To keep your home safe from fire and you and your guests safe from burns, do the following:
- Keep grills on a level surface away from other structures or flammable materials.
- Use long, heavy mitts and appropriate grilling tools to protect your hands and arms.
- Let coals cool completely before disposing them.
- Keep flammable liquids away from the grill.
- Keep propane tanks well maintained and regularly check for problems with tanks, hoses and valves to avoid an explosion or propane fire.
Swimming is everyone’s favorite way to keep cool and have fun when it’s hot outside. Having a pool in your yard is a great way to keep the kids busy all summer, but it also comes with a great deal of responsibility for the homeowner. Before you decide to get your own pool, you must be aware of all of the dangers and liability concerns that come with the territory. And you must take steps to be a responsible pool owner in order to keep you family and guests safe.
- Install self-closing, self-latching gates as well as a pool alarm.
- Make sure drains have anti-entrapment covers.
- Never let anyone, no matter how old, swim alone.
- Have safety and life-saving equipment nearby at all times.
- Discourage running, and keep hazards like glass bottles, toys, and so on out of the way on the pool deck or in the yard.
- Keep electrical devices away from the pool.
If you are going to the public pool or beach, pay attention to lifeguards and follow all safety rules and regulations.
Infants, young children, the elderly and even pets are especially susceptible to heat-related illnesses. In addition, those with heart problems or other chronic diseases, people who work outside, athletes, and alcoholics and drug abusers also more easily fall victim to heat exhaustion or heatstroke. And while the heat is dangerous on its own, the risk for heat-related illnesses goes up even more when the humidity spikes, too.
Everyone needs to be careful on especially hot days. To avoid sunburn, heat exhaustion or heatstroke:
- Always wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Be sure to reapply your sunscreen every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
- On hot days, avoid outdoor activity when the heat is most intense—between 10 am and 4 pm.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the damaging effects of the sun.
- Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat to keep your head and face cool and provide extra sun protection for your face, neck and shoulders.
- If you must be outside, take drinks and breaks frequently.
Kids love outdoor play sets, and the convenience of having one in the backyard is unquestionable. However, if you have a backyard play set, you must take care to ensure that it is safe for your kids and their friends.
- Regularly inspect the set for sturdiness, rot, and rusty bolts and make any necessary repairs.
- Make sure there are no spaces or openings in which a child’s head or neck could get caught.
- Play sets should be placed on level ground with wood chips or other soft materials underneath.
It’s not ALL fun and games in the summer! Take special care when operating your lawn mower and other outdoor power equipment.
- Read the operator’s manual and know how to work the controls of your specific equipment.
- Children under age 12 should not operate a push mower, and children under age 16 should not operate a driving mower.
- Never let children ride on your lawn mower as passengers, and keep children inside while you are cutting the grass.
- Before you get started, clean up toys, rocks and anything else that could be become flying debris if run over by the lawn mower.
- Never leave a running lawn mower unattended.
- Never operate your mower in an enclosed space where carbon monoxide can collect.
- Wear ear and eye protection while operating your lawn mower.
Don’t spoil your picnic or barbecue with spoiled food and upset stomachs. The easiest rule to remember about food safety is to keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold. Use coolers with ample ice and keep them closed as much as possible. Always cook meat thoroughly according to FDA safe food temperatures. And be sure to properly clean all produce before serving or eating it.
As we approach Independence Day in one of the oldest cities in the U.S., be sure to take special care with fireworks. Using fireworks can lead to burns, scars and disfigurement, and you can just as easily injure innocent bystanders as you can yourself. First, be sure to know all of your local fireworks regulations and follow them to the letter. Then, remember that fireworks that are typically considered safe can still be dangerous. Sparklers, for example, can reach temperatures above 1,000 degrees, easily burning users and bystanders. After you have thought that through, you might decide that it is best to leave the fireworks to the professionals!
Last but not least, take a moment to review your insurance policies before summer gets into full swing. You need to make sure you are properly insured for the increased risks that accompany all of the outdoor activities. Boats, motorcycles, scooters and ATVs all need special insurance policies to protect you from the risks they involve. And your insurance company needs to know if you have a backyard trampoline or pool so they can adjust your home insurance policy and premium accordingly.
Talk to us if you have made any changes over the winter, and tell us about your plans for the summer!