Group gathered around bonfire on Memorial Day

Top Memorial Day Weekend Safety Tips

Backyard barbecues and bonfires with family, neighbors and friends. These and other popular Memorial Day weekend activities often include alcohol. As Bayhealth Emergency Physician and Assistant Medical Director of the Bayhealth Emergency Department, Kent Campus Ellie Salinski, MD, shared, if you aren’t careful, a seemingly harmless get-together or other holiday weekend plan may end with a trip to the emergency room.

“Unfortunately, each Memorial Day weekend we see patients with injuries and traumas that are a result of car accidents or other events. And in many cases, alcohol was a contributing factor. Drinking multiple drinks at a time or doing shots can add up quickly and lead to not only accident-related injuries but long-term serious health problems such as liver or brain damage. Even if alcohol isn’t involved, the risk for serious burns tends to increase at this time of year as more people grill or gather around outdoor fires. Drownings also start occurring with Memorial Day weekend as pools reopen,” explained Dr. Salinski.

To help keep you and your family, friends and neighbors safe Memorial Day weekend and all summer long, Dr. Salinski shared her top safety tips related to alcohol, pools and fires.

  1. Drink in moderation—no more than one alcoholic drink per hour.
  2. Don’t drink alone. No one will be there to call 911 or take you to the emergency room if you experience alcohol poisoning, or if you get hurt and need immediate medical attention.
  3. Don’t drive a car or operate heavy machinery, no matter how much alcohol you’ve had. This includes not riding on ATVs, working on a car or using lawn equipment, all examples of activities that have resulted in injuries requiring more intense emergency care.
  4. Don’t drink when caring for small children.
  5. Never leave a child unattended around a pool.
  6. Be careful when you’re grilling and drinking, and never leave a grill unattended if it’s uncovered. Both increase the chances of burns, as an unattended, uncovered grill may result in a fire.
  7. When setting a bonfire or other type of outdoor fire, be mindful that the wind can suddenly change direction. If you’re not careful and are too close to the fire, you or others close by may get burned.
  8. If a fire does get out of control and you don’t have a fire extinguisher to put it out, call 911 right away. Don’t try to put the fire out yourself.
  9. Smoking is bad for your health, but if you are a smoker, don’t smoke if you or someone around you is on oxygen therapy. This can result in severe burns to the face and body.

Following these tips will help guarantee a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend and summer season for everyone. However, if you or a family member, friend or neighbor were to require emergency or immediate care, Bayhealth is ready and here for you. Visit to learn about Bayhealth’s Emergency Departments and Walk-in Medical Care.


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