County offers safety tips for Memorial Day weekend

MemorialDayWEST CHESTER — Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer. Whether you are traveling or enjoying your backyard barbecue, here are some tips to keep you and your family safe this weekend and all during the summer season.

Drive Safely. When you are traveling it’s important to drive safely. Be well rested and alert, and everyone use seat belts. If your plans include drinking alcohol, have a designated driver. Use caution in work zones and remember to move over to for emergency vehicles.

Grilling and Food Safety. Whether using a charcoal or gas grill, never grill indoors. “Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, deck, tree branches or anything that could catch fire,” said John Weer, Chief County Fire Marshal. Keep a fire proof pan under the grill to catch ashes or grease. Be ready to close the grill lid and turn off the grill to cut off the fuel if necessary. Always supervise a grill when in use and make sure everyone, including pets, stays away from the grill. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling raw poultry or meat. Cook food thoroughly; especially beef, pork and poultry. Refrigerate all perishable food within two hours.

If you plan to use a fire pit, be sure to put out the fire completely before leaving it unattended.

Water Safety. Always supervise children in and near water. Never swim alone. Everyone should wear a life vest while boating. Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, and first aid kit. The American Red Cross offers swimming lessons; for more online information about water and boating safety, visit

Sun and Heat Safety. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and apply it generously throughout the day. Wear a hat and sunglasses and Drink lots of water to stay well hydrated. If you get overheated, get to a shaded area or go indoors with air conditioning as soon as possible. Never leave pets or children in a vehicle; vehicles can heat up very quickly. Keep strenuous activity to a minimum during the hottest part of the day. “Remember, don’t forget about your pets; keep them well hydrated and if they are outdoors in the shade,” commented Robert Kagel, Director, Chester County Department of Emergency Services.

Enjoy and stay safe this holiday weekend and during the summer season. For more information on summer safety tips, please visit or

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