Care with Commonplace Risks
As a time of celebration safety may not be the first thing on everyone’s mind during Eid al-Adha this year, however as with any large event it should always be given reasonable consideration.
Festivities shouldn’t be marred with tragedy, and much as the workplace requires care with commonplace risks so too does the feast of sacrifice to ensure the safety of its participants.
So, without further ado here are SHEilds’ top tips for Eid al-Adha Safety to keep you, your family and friends in good health from beginning to end.
Safety for Children
It goes without saying that safety for children deserves particular concern on account of their vulnerability and need for supervision. Some of the most important things to keep in mind include:
- Maintaining supervision of ovens, barbecues and fires while in use – The hustle and bustle of a large meal can make it easy to be distracted from cooking food or end up inadvertently leaving hot utensils unattended. Make sure children are firmly warned of the dangers these present before commencing and ensure a responsible adult is watching hot cooking appliances at all times.
- Supervision around pools and large bodies of water – Swimming and paddling can seem a harmless enough activity, but keep in mind that children can get into trouble very quickly. As with cooking make sure there is always an adult who can swim supervising and encourage caution around deeper water. With open waters such as those at the beach you should predetermine a spot with calm waters, a slow incline and – ideally – a nearby lifeguard on duty to assist should an emergency occur. Read more in our Dangers of Water blog.
- Road Safety – This is hardly a risk that is specific to Eid al-Adha, however it deserves a mention regardless. Whether you are travelling to a celebration on foot or celebrating near a road take extra care with children. Thanks to a smaller profile they will be less noticeable to drivers while during the evening visibility will be further reduced. Do not allow them to cross roads alone or for play to spill over into them, even if they initially seem quiet.
Joining friends and family together to feast is an important occasion, which is all the more reason why basic food safety needs to be acknowledged to avoid jeopardising the good health of participants. The most vital things to be mindful of include:
- Preparing food in hygienic conditions – Where possible, try preparing food inside the home to keep things as sanitary as possible. Wash fruits and salads to minimise unnecessary handling prior to consumption and keep them clearly separated from meats to avoid cross-contamination. If you are required to prepare food outside of the home, then clearly set aside utensils and containers to separate the latter until they are being eaten.
- Clearly maintain separation between cooked and uncooked meats – Almost everyone should know this, but it’s always worth reiterating to completely rule out contamination. In particular be careful that juices from raw meat do not leak onto cooked foods; ideally your containers and/or packaging for raw meat will be water tight.
- Food storage – Storing food sensibly should be a priority. Where possible keep it in sealed containers out of the sun and be wary of food and condiments which expire quickly such as tuna, minced meat and mayonnaise. In the home you may refrigerate these, but if you are on the move prepare some icepacks or portable coolers for transport. Only remove meats from coolers when you are immediately ready to cook or grill them.
- In doubt? Throw it out – No one enjoys wasting food, however if you have serious doubts about it – e.g. expiry, contamination, exposure to the sun or dropping – then don’t hesitate to dispose of it. A wasted dish is vastly preferable to a bout of serious illness.
As touched on earlier, grills and other fire sources can present substantial risks. As such, grilling safety is vital not just for children but the responsible adults as well. A few important things to bear in mind include:
- Base your grill a reasonable distance from combustible materials and buildings – While to many this might seem like basic common sense it can be overlooked surprisingly often. Isolating grills and other fires from flammable surroundings limits the damage in the event of an accident. A grill fire is far better than losing an entire home, garden or neighbourhood.
- Always supervise the grill while it is in use – Whatever the excuse may be, make sure a responsible adult is actively watching the grill at ALL times. A fire can get out of control in a matter of moments.
- Clean your grill thoroughly before use – Another basic point too often ignored. Cleaning away encrusted grease prior to grilling will immediately reduce fire risks.
- Make sure gas barbecues are firmly off before changing a cylinder – In additional, be wary of leaks in piping. If you suspect this try wiping the pipe in question with soapy water and look for a bubbling area.
- Take care with melting fats – If you are grilling meats containing large amounts of fat then be wary of it melting and dripping onto coal fires; this can ignite violently creating unpredictable risks. You can reduce this risk by trimming away unnecessary fat from meats and avoiding overloading a single grill. It is also essential that the meat itself isn’t caught in rising flames as this will exacerbate the problem; make sure your grill has free space available to move it out of the fire safely while the flame dies down.
- Keep a bucket of sand and/or an extinguisher handy and have an evacuation plan – Should a grill fire begin to get out of hand thanks to a fat flare up, keep in mind that dousing with water may increase the dangers. Burning grease may only temporarily die down before flaring up again or explode on contact with water, spreading the fire further. In an emergency, douse it with a bucket of sand, use a dry powder extinguisher or – if you have no options left – immediately evacuate the area and call your fire service.
With a little care and common sense there’s no reason not to have a fantastic Eid al-Adha this week. We at SHEilds hope this is the case for everyone celebrating and wish you all good safety and health throughout.