Safety tips during the heat | Health Tips

How hot is too hot? With temperatures rising this summer, here at Kittitas County, the Kittitas County Public Health Department (KCPHD) wants you to stay safe while still enjoying your summer. Heat related illnesses are avoidable. 

Become aware of the symptoms and know what to do in case a loved one shows any symptoms. CDC states that around 618 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year.

When working in an already hot workplace, for example a kitchen, be sure to wear appropriate clothing. Stay cool and choose lightweight, light colored, and loose fitted clothing. Stay hydrated and always have water available. 

As a reminder any food employee may have closed beverage containers if the drink is handled to prevent any contamination of employee’s hand, exposed food, clean equipment, utensils, and linens. 

If any spills occur, immediately clean it with your sanitizer solution. The most common sanitizer solution in a food establishment is a bleach solution made by mixing 1 teaspoon unscented bleach with 1 gallon of cool water. 

Any cloths used for food spills from tableware or carry out containers for food must be used only for this purpose. Sanitizer solution must be changed often because grease, dirt and food make the sanitizer less effective.

Be aware of the inside temperature of the kitchen and all your cold/hot holding equipment. All refrigerators must always be at an internal temperature of 41F or below. All food employees must be properly trained to verify temperatures and know what to do in case a cold holding unit is not working, or temperatures are above 41F. 

Make sure that all cold holding units have a working ambient thermometer for temperature checks. Food employees must be verifying temperatures throughout the day. If food temperatures are between 41F to 45F all items must be cooled back to 41F immediately. 

Any foods above 45F for over 12 hours must be properly destroyed. Foods that have an internal temperature of 55F or higher for 4 hours or more must be destroyed immediately.

As the day gets busier and the kitchen gets hotter, we tend to open doors and windows for air flow. Along with prepping big amounts of food for rush hour. 

As a reminder when prepping big amounts of food and storing them in any cold holding or hot holding equipment, make sure that you are not over filling containers where only half the food is at the right temperatures and the other half was not able to reach temperature correctly and safely.

Any food that is being cooled down must be at 2 inches or less in depth and inside the walk-in fridge. To reheating food properly all parts of the food must reach an internal temperature of 165F for 15 seconds. 

If the kitchen gets too hot and we look for ways for a better air flow or ventilation remember that all openings must be protected against entry of insects and rodents. 

If any back doors are being opened, make sure that unnecessary people do not come inside your kitchen or in any food preparation area. Keep in mind where to plug in any electric fans properly and safely, and although electric fan might offer relief, they do not prevent any heat related illness.

When temperatures are high 90s, fans will not stop any heat related illness. Stay hydrated and always check local news for any alerts, warnings, or hot weather tips. Keep your staff and customers safe, hydrated and try to stay in an air-conditioned space as much as possible. 

safty tips during the heat

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