PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
May 23, 2019

Shereef Elnahal

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

Fire Safety and Health Officials Encourage Residents to Put Safety First Ahead of Memorial Day Holiday Weekend

As New Jersey residents prepare for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Division of Fire Safety and the New Jersey Department of Health are providing residents with grilling and food safety tips to keep holiday celebrations safe from injury and illness.

“Governor Murphy and I want you and your loved ones to have a wonderful Memorial Day as we honor our veterans this weekend. And we want to remind you to take the necessary safety precautions before you start grilling and handling food,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, DCA Commissioner. “The DCA Division of Fire Safety and the Department of Health offer these simple tips to help keep your family safe during holiday cookouts throughout the year.”

“Foodborne illness can certainly put a damper on any holiday celebration, that is why it is important to remember safety precautions when handling foods,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal. “Cook meat thoroughly, refrigerate leftovers promptly and wash hands frequently, as well as any surfaces used to prepare food.”






When refilling an existing propane tank or exchanging one from your local retailer:

  • Check to make sure your cylinder has a sealed plastic cap on the valve. Make certain the valve is closed tightly before transporting.
  • NEVER place the cylinder in a vehicle’s trunk. Instead, secure it in the vehicle’s rear seating area in such a way that it will not roll around.
  • Limit the number of cylinders transported at one time in your vehicle to two.


When using charcoal grills:

  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.


Beyond annual grill maintenance, use everyday precautions that will help to prevent a fire:

  • Know your grill. Read the manufacturer’s guidelines. Look at the owner’s manual or on the internet for product usage guidelines.
  • Always check the gas tank hose line for leaks by filling a spray bottle with soapy water and spray all the threaded connections. Bubbles will appear if you have a leak in any of them.
  • DO NOT attempt to light the grill until you have checked all connections and verified they are leak free.
  • Have a fire extinguisher nearby that is permanently dedicated to the grill.
  • If a grill flares up, first cut oxygen off from the fire by closing the cover, then shut off the gas. Use the extinguisher on any remaining flame.
  • Turn off the supply valve after you turn off the burner valves when completed.
  • Always use the cylinder in an upright position. On its side, the propane collects as a liquid and it can leak as a liquid.
  • Keep extra tanks away from the grill and store outside, away from any structure. NEVER use a grill inside or under an open porch, alcove, or garage. Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of burning in confined spaces and it can be deadly.



  • Before you eat or make food, wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water.
  • When preparing foods, use two cutting boards - one for raw meat, chicken and fish, and one for vegetables or other foods that will not be cooked.
  • Check to ensure food is thoroughly cooked by inserting a food thermometer at an angle into the thickest part of the meat, chicken or fish to check the internal temperature. Cook hamburgers to at least 155°F, chicken and stuffed meats to at least 165°F, and steaks, pork, fish and whole beef or pork roasts to at least 145°F.
  • Keep cold foods chilled until serving time and keep hot food hot by using tabletop equipment such as chafing dishes and sternos.
  • Refrigerate leftovers immediately. Discard food that has been left out for four or more hours.
  • Always wash fruits and vegetables under running water before cutting or eating them.


For more on food safety, please visit: https://nj.gov/health/foodanddrugsafety/.


This week has also been designated as National Healthy and Safe Swimming Week. While enjoying the beach or pool this holiday weekend, it is important for swimmers to take steps to ensure a healthy and safe swimming experience for everyone and prevent the spread of germs.


Each year, Healthy and Safe Swimming Week focuses on simple steps swimmers, aquatics and beach staff, residential pool owners, and public health officials can take in preventing drowning, pool chemical injuries, and outbreaks of illnesses. This year’s theme is “Pool Chemistry for Healthy and Safe Swimming.”  For tips on healthy swimming, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/index.html.


The Division of Fire Safety serves as the central fire service agency in the State. The Division is responsible for the development and enforcement of the State Uniform Fire Code, as well as for implementing community risk reduction strategies and firefighter training programs.


Follow New Jersey Health Commissioner Elnahal on Twitter.

Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on Twitter @njdeptofhealth, Facebook /njdeptofhealth, Instagram @njdeptofhealth and Snapchat @njdoh. 

Last Reviewed: 5/23/2019