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By: The Safety Mom
Posted on: Jun 28, 2018

Outdoor Entertaining

It’s party time, and who doesn’t love a great outdoor party?! Ensure you are the host with the most by following these simple safety tips for outdoor entertaining from The Safety Mom, Alison Jacobson. With a little focus on key areas and tweaking of your outdoor party plan, you can avoid potential hazards and spend the party enjoying time with your loved ones. Your patio is calling – party on!

Summer’s officially here and time to enjoy afternoon barbeques and dinner al fresco. If you’re hosting a party or small get together planning will make it much more enjoyable as the host. There’s nothing worse than not being able to enjoy yourself because you’re too busy running around. Here are a few tips to consider before the party starts:

1) Defend against insects and bugs

Tiki torches not only look festive but when you use citronella fuel with them you’ll be able to keep the bugs at bay. Put them around the perimeter of the eating area and have some insect repellent spray on hand for your guests to use. Keep food covered, rinse out all cans and bottles before tossing and be sure garbage lids are shut tight. Also, look around for standing water in bird baths, kids’ toys or puddles as it will attract mosquitoes.

2) Check your outdoor furnishings, screens and walking spaces

During the winter, outdoor areas are susceptible to all types of damage from weather and normal wear-and-tear. Before you open up your patio or deck area for guests, double check that window coverings and the coverings on your furniture, umbrellas and other outdoor accessories are clean and snag free. If replacement outdoor fabrics are needed, look for sturdy, durable materials that will last into the next summer season. Also, take a walk through the area to look for chips or holes in your grouted areas that could be a trip hazard. You will also want to clean up and re-grout any areas where mold or mildew may have grown. Using an outdoor grout with built-in mold protection can help alleviate this issue for future seasons.

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3) Check the grill

Keeping your gas and charcoal grills maintained not only will make them last longer but keep them safe. You can make sure no gas is leaking from your gas grill by making a solution of half liquid dish soap and half water and rubbing it on the hoses and connections. Then, turn the gas on (with the grill lid open.) If the soap forms large bubbles, that's a sign that the hoses have tiny holes or that the connections are not tight enough. Make sure you regularly clean your grill as left-over grease is a major cause of flare-ups when lit. When cooking, keep your grill at least 10 feet away from any structure.

4) Be careful with food

It doesn’t have to be scorching hot outside for food to go bad. While it might seem cool outside, potentially hazardous foods such as unshelled eggs, raw meats, fish, shell fish, dairy products and almost all cooked foods should be thrown after 2 hours. If you’re marinating raw meat never use the same dish once it’s been cooked to serve or even transfer to plates. You may want to consider having a cooler on-hand to keep your cold items cold and to store any leftovers that you want to keep.

5) Safety with fire pits

Fire pits have become extremely popular over the last few years and make a great place to relax and gather at the end of the evening. When deciding where to make your fire pit be sure it’s at least 10 ft from any structure but preferably further and never under a deck or overhang. Also, make sure the ground or surface is even to reduce the risk of fire escaping beyond your fire pit. Never use gasoline or kerosene to start your fire; such fuels can cause a fire to get out of control quickly. Instead, use dry wood as kindling that doesn’t extend beyond the edge of the pit. When you’re done for the evening don’t leave it unattended until it’s completely extinguished. Pour water on it, gently stir and spread the ashes to cool. Leave only when they’re cool to the touch.