More than 332 million people live in the United States, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau. There’s a good chance that, come July 4th, a considerable number of those individuals will be hosting or attending parties to celebrate American independence.
This year those planning on a July 4th fête can consider these tips as they prepare to celebrate with family and friends.
• Borrow a second grill. Those tasked with grilling often find themselves standing there for hours over hot flames. Cut down on time at the grill by adding an extra cooking surface. That’s easily achieved by having more than one grill going simultaneously. Cook fast-cooking items like hamburgers and hot dog on one grill, and reserve the other for sausages and chicken, which may need more time to reach safe levels of doneness.
• Stop peeking. Resist any urge to check the food too often. Every time you flip, press or move the meats, you compromise flavor and could make the food dry out.
• Lure insects away. Bees are attracted to sweet smells, but wasps and hornets are drawn to meats. Put a saucer of very sweet soda and some chicken scraps in a far corner of your yard to attract yellow jackets and other stinging insects to that area, drawing their attention away from guests and their meals.
• Hire a lifeguard. If your party will involve time spent in a pool, consider hiring a lifeguard or designate someone to observe pool activities. Party hosts may be distracted by other duties, and one can’t count on guests to watch what is going on in the pool. For safety’s sake, a dedicated set of eyes on swimmers can prevent injuries and accidents.
• Give neighbors a heads-up. Parties and barbecues on July 4th are largely expected, but you can offer a courtesy to neighbors by informing them of your plans, including the start time and proposed ending time. If you are close with neighbors, consider inviting them to participate.
• Skip the fireworks. Even if fireworks are permitted where you live, it’s best to avoid the potential safety hazards and leave fireworks displays to the professionals. Shooting off fireworks in neighborhoods causes debris to rain down on guests or land in pools, and it may even be ingested by pets or wildlife. Even sparklers can be dangerous, as they burn at 2,000 F. In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says sparklers account for around 60 percent of injuries among children under five during summer festivities.
• Create a patriotic playlist. Use your favorite music streaming service to curate a music list that features America-specific songs, songs about summer and general party tunes. Be sure the music is in the background and does not overpower the conversation.
July 4th plans are heating up. When hosting a party or barbecue, keep it simple and safe.