Spending time in the pool is one of the most popular ways to stay cool each summer. Although it seems like all fun and games, remember that water safety is critical. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 3,000 people die from unintended drowning each year.
Use these tips from poolsafety.gov to make sure your day by the pool doesn’t end in tragedy:
Actively supervise children in any size body of water; even the bathtub can be dangerous if left unattended.
Install anti-entrapment drain covers in your pool and inspect them to make sure they aren’t broken. These devices can keep your hair, limbs, or clothing from being trapped in the pool’s drain and ultimately prevent drowning.
If you plan to spend time boating on open bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, or the ocean, you should take some additional precautions:
Wear a life vest, even if you know how to swim.
Check the weather forecast. Thunderstorms and windy conditions can make it dangerous to be in the water.
In March, we announced a new URL shortening service called 1.USA.gov. 1.USA.gov automatically creates .gov URLs whenever you use bitly to shorten a URL that ends in .gov or .mil. We created this service to make it easy for people to know when a short URL will lead to official, and trustworthy, government information.
Data is created every time someone clicks on a 1.USA.gov link, which happens about 56,000 times each day. Together, these clicks show what government information people are sharing with their friends and networks. No one has ever had such a broad view of how government information is viewed and shared online.
Today, we’re excited to announce that all of the data created by 1.USA.gov clicks is freely available through the Developers page on USA.gov. We want as many people as possible to benefit from the insights we get from 1.USA.gov.
1.USA.gov Hack Day
To mark the occasion, we’re also planning a nationwide 1.USA.gov Hack Day on July 29.
The Hack Day will bring together software developers, entrepreneurs, and curious citizens to look at the data produced by 1.USA.gov and discover new uses for the information.
Hack day events will take place in San Diego, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.. Participation is free! We hope you will join us.
If you’d like to attend, please visit the pages our collaborators have set up for each event where you can find more information and RSVP:
Of course, you don’t have to attend a physical event to share your 1.USA.gov ideas with the world. If you create something interesting with 1.USA.gov data that you’d like to share, leave a comment about it on this blog post, or tweet about it using the hashtag #1USAgov.
And, even if you’re not a developer, you can help us get the word out! Please share this post with anyone interested in showcasing what open government data can do!
While the internet is a great place for kids to learn, watch funny videos and catch up with friends, it can also be dangerous because of child predators. The FBI offers guidelines on what to look out for if you think your child might be at risk for a child predator’s unwanted advances:
Monitor the amount of time your child spends on the computer. Staying up late after school or on the weekends might put them at higher risk of talking to strangers or participating in sexually explicit online activities.
If your child quickly shuts off the monitor or changes their screen when you walk into the room, they might be trying to hide something from you.
Sexual predators may try to reach your child through other means. If your child is receiving packages from someone you don’t know, or making phone calls to long distance numbers, check with them to see who they are from.
Look out for special abbreviations your child might use while you are in the room. Some examples include: PAW or PRW: Parents are watching, PIR: Parents in room, POS: Parent over shoulder, (L)MIRL: (Let’s) meet in real life.
If you suspect your child is communicating with a sexual predator online, talk openly with them about your suspicions and explain to them the dangers of computer-sex offenders. The FBI also suggests checking out their computer for any signs that they are involved in a dangerous activity or relationship.
Starting today, all cribs manufactured and sold in the United States must follow new federal safety regulations. It is now illegal to manufacture or sell traditional drop-side rail cribs. All cribs must have more durable mattress support, slats, and hardware and manufacturers must go through a more rigorous testing process.
Facilities such as daycare centers, hotels, and church nurseries have until December 28, 2011 to replace old cribs with compliant cribs that meet the new safety standards.
It is important to note that you cannot tell by looking at a crib whether or not it meets the new standards. The CPSC recommends you check with the retailer or manufacturer, who is required to run tests on their products to ensure they meet the standards.
There is no scientific proof that cell phone radiation shields significantly reduce exposure from cell phone emissions, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
A “shield” is any product that claims to block radiation from harming someone using a cell phone.
But scam artists might still try to sell the so-called “shields.” Products that only block one part of the phone are ineffective because the entire phone can emit electromagnetic waves. Phony radiation shields might actually emit more radiation if they draw more power from the device.
While health studies are still ongoing, the FTC offers tips on reducing your exposure to cell phone emissions:
Use an earpiece or the speakerphone feature as often as possible
Keep calls brief and text when you can
Wait for a strong signal; phones emit more radiation when they have a weak signal and are looking for service
Fireworks like bottle rockets and small firecrackers may appear harmless because of their small size, but they sent 1,900 people to emergency rooms last year during the 30 days surrounding July 4th. In total, about 8,600 emergency room visits in 2010 were from fireworks injuries.
If you do decide to buy legal fireworks, be sure to take the following safety steps:
Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
Avoid buying fireworks that come in brown paper packaging, as this can often be a sign that the
fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.
Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents often don’t realize that there are many injuries from sparklers to children under five.
Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move away to a safe distance immediately after lighting.
Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not gone off or fully functioned.
Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
Light one item at a time then move away quickly.
Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
After fireworks have gone off and fully functioned, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding to prevent a trash fire.
Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
Know the risks. Prevent the tragedies. And have an injury-free Fourth!
Dr. Don Berwick, M.D., Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
“Prevention” is a word we use a lot in health care – June is “National Prevention and Wellness Month” – but I want to take a minute to think about what it really means.
Intuitively, prevention makes sense: as the saying goes, you can either pay now or you can pay later. But oddly enough, our health care system often doesn’t reflect this fundamental mindset. Most health care focuses on treating disease. Prevention, on the other hand, focuses on health.
Preventive care is also patient-centered care, as people become active participants in maintaining their health and get services customized for their individual needs and preferences.
Today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new report (PDF) showing that more than 5 million Americans with traditional Medicare, or nearly one in six people with Medicare, took advantage of one or more of the recommended preventive benefits now available for free thanks to the Affordable Care Act – most prominently, mammograms, bone density screenings, and screenings for prostate cancer.
These are just a few of the preventive services available to people on Medicare. Earlier this year, Medicare eliminated the Part B deductible and copayments for a host of preventive services, including bone mass measurement, some cancer screenings, diabetes and cholesterol tests, and flu, pneumonia, and hepatitis B shots.
We’ve also eliminated out-of-pocket costs for the “Welcome to Medicare” preventive visit and, for the first time since the Medicare program was created in 1965, Medicare now covers an annual wellness visit with a participating doctor, also at no cost.
We’ve added expanded prescription drug benefits to the preventive arsenal as well. This year, people with Medicare started to benefit from a 50% percent discount on covered brand name drugs bought when they’re in the donut hole, and we’ll continue to chip away at the donut hole until it’s closed in 2020. Making prescription drugs more affordable increases the chance they’ll be taken as needed. Again – prevention just makes sense.
Find out which preventive services are right for you by taking this checklist to your doctor or other health care provider.
Our job now is to ensure that everyone eligible for Medicare uses these benefits. We need to encourage every person with Medicare, every caregiver, every physician to join our nationwide campaign for prevention. We are calling our campaign, Share the News, Share the Health, which will run throughout the summer, with online ads and community events all over the country starting in July.
Focusing on prevention doesn’t just improve care – it’s also an important step in reducing the cost of health care. The financial costs of treating chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes are enormous. Add in the intangible costs of pain and suffering, and the very real economic costs of lost productivity, and the opportunity costs of chronic illness are simply unacceptable.
This is why we’re also working closely to incorporate best practices from the Centers for Disease Control, particularly around ways to reduce cardiovascular mortality. This type of collaboration is critical to moving us towards a prevention-based model of care.
Focusing on prevention also makes sense when we value treating the whole patient – not just a condition or disease. When we help people take better care of their health, everyone in the community benefits. If we wait to pay for care as illness progresses, the price of health care for the country will continue to rise.
Through the Making Home Affordable program you might be able to get help if you’re facing foreclosure, struggling with your mortgage payment, or trying to avoid mortgage troubles.
With Making Home Affordable modifications, you might be able to lower your mortgage payment by more than $500 each month. You might also be able to refinance your mortgage to make it more affordable or get help if you owe more than your home is worth. There are also programs to assist unemployed homeowners and those with second mortgages.
You can also call 888-995-HOPE (TTY 877-304-9709) to speak with a HUD-approved housing counselor for free. A counselor can help you understand your options and design a plan to suit your individual situation.
Image description: An example of what the new sunscreen labels will look like from the FDA.
The Food and Drug Administration is changing sunscreen labels to make it easier for you to pick a product that offers the protection level you want.
The changes will require sunscreens labeled “broad spectrum” - those that protect against both UVA and UVB rays — to pass a standardized test.
The labels will also clearly tell whether a sunscreen protects against sunburn, skin cancer and signs of premature skin aging.
Only sunscreens labels with “broad spectrum” and an SPF of 15 or higher will protect against all three. Anything without the “broad spectrum” label or with an SPF between 2 and 14 will only protect against sunburn.
The FDA will also be making additional changes to the labels to help you get maximum skin protection:
Sunscreen products that are not broad spectrum or that are broad spectrum with SPF values from 2 to14 will be labeled with a warning that reads: “Skin Cancer/Skin Aging Alert: Spending time in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. This product has been shown only to help prevent sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.”
Water resistance claims on the product’s front label must tell how much time a user can expect to get the declared SPF level of protection while swimming or sweating, based on standard testing. Two times will be permitted on labels: 40 minutes or 80 minutes.
Manufacturers cannot make claims that sunscreens are “waterproof” or “sweatproof,” or identify their products as “sunblocks.” Also, sunscreens cannot claim protection immediately on application (for example, “instant protection”) or protection for more than two hours without reapplication, unless they submit data and get approval from FDA.
The new labels will start to appear on sunscreen bottles next summer.
Thirty years ago this month, HIV/AIDS was identified as what we know it as today. During this time over 25 million people worldwide have died from HIV/AIDS. Even today, the only “cure” is prevention.
Currently, more than one million people in the United States live with HIV; 21% of those with HIV have yet to be diagnosed and are unaware of their infection. But great strides have been made in HIV prevention and treatment over the past thirty years. In fact, the number of new HIV infections has fallen by more than two thirds since the height of the epidemic.
The CDC is sponsoring a special thirtieth commemoration of HIV/AIDS this summer to help educate people about the impact across our country and the world. Learn more about the commemoration.
Frequently, you will hear meteorologists mention the air quality index (AQI) during the weather report. The AQI is a tool used to express the local air quality on a daily basis and help you determine if there are any health risks.
The AQI is expressed on a scale from 0 to 500; higher scores indicate greater levels of air pollution and health concerns. There are six AQI categories, ranging from “good” to “hazardous” and each level has a color associated with it to make it easy for people to quickly assess the AQI. Be cautious if the AQI is “code orange” or “code red”.
Some groups, such as children, older adults, and people with lung or heart related diseases are more sensitive to poor air quality, so they need to take extra precautions, such as:
If you’re in the market for a new car, then you may be familiar with fuel economy labels. These labels list the gas mileage estimates for city and highway driving.
Starting with 2013 model year vehicles, you will be able to easily see how much you will save on gasoline with a more efficient vehicle, such as a hybrid, electric, or alternative fuel vehicle. The labels will show the traditional miles per gallon estimate and will also tell you the average annual fuel cost and how much you would save by buying a fuel efficient car.
The new labels also feature a Quick Response (QR) code that allows you to comparison shop using a smart phone. You can scan the QR code with your phone to store that vehicle’s information, compare it to other vehicles, and access Fueleconomy.gov for more detailed estimates based off current gas prices and electricity rates in your area.
These new additions to the fuel economy label will help you understand the long-term cost in addition to the sticker price.
Learn about specific types of weather dangers and what you should do if they occur:
Earthquakes – If an earthquake occurs while you’re indoors, stay away from windows, doors, and outside walls, get under a sturdy table or desk, and cover your head. If you are outside, keep away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires.
Extreme Heat – Stay indoors as much as possible and consider spending the hottest part of the day in an air-conditioned public building, such as a library or shopping mall. Drink plenty of water, and limit physical exertion.
Hurricanes – If you are unable to evacuate, get inside, secure external doors, and close interior doors. Take refuge in a small, interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level. Stay away from windows and doors.
Lightning – Remember the 30/30 lightning safety rule: if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder, get inside a home, building, or hardtop vehicle and wait 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder before going back outside. If you are outside, avoid tall, isolated trees, boats, the beach, open fields, and anything metal (golf clubs or carts, bicycles, motorcycles, etc.).
Tornadoes – Storm cellars or basements are the best place to stay safe from tornadoes. If underground shelter is not available, go into an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible and stay away from windows, doors, outside walls, and corners. If shelter is not available, lie flat in a ditch or other low-lying area.
Wildfires – If your home is threatened by a wildfire, you must evacuate. Be sure to bring an emergency kit that includes copies of important documents.
Image description: The sun shining through the American flag. Photographed by Bin Lee.
On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress approved the design of a national flag. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation declaring June 14th National Flag Day. In 1949, Congress officially declared June 14th as National Flag Day, acknowledging President Wilson’s proclamation.
American Memory from the Library of Congress explains the history of the flag design:
According to legend, in 1776, George Washington commissioned Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross to create a flag for the new nation. Scholars debate this legend, but agree that Mrs. Ross most likely knew Washington and sewed flags. To date, there have been twenty-seven official versions of the flag, but the arrangement of the stars varied according to the flag-makers’ preferences until 1912 when President Taft standardized the then-new flag’s forty-eight stars into six rows of eight. The forty-nine-star flag (1959-60), as well as the fifty-star flag, also have standardized star patterns. The current version of the flag dates to July 4, 1960, after Hawaii became the fiftieth state on August 21, 1959.
The Pentagon Papers, officially titled “Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force”, was leaked to the press and widely distributed in June of 1971. On the 40th anniversary of the leak to the press, the National Archives, along with the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon Presidential Libraries, has released the complete report. There are 48 boxes and approximately 7,000 declassified pages. Approximately 34% of the report is available for the first time.
From the CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
Every year, cancer claims the lives of nearly 300,000 men in America. Men can reduce their risk for some of the most common types of cancer.
More men in the U.S. die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. The most important thing you can do to prevent lung cancer is to quit smoking or not start smoking, and avoid secondhand smoke.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in men. While all men are at risk for prostate cancer, some factors increase risk. These include older age, a family history of prostate cancer, and being African American. Talk to your doctor about getting screened for prostate cancer.
Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
The third leading cause of cancer deaths in American men is colorectal cancer. Screening is recommended for both men and women beginning at age 50. Screening tests for colorectal cancer can find precancerous polyps so they can be removed before they turn into cancer.
Tomorrow is National Get Outdoors Day, part of Great Outdoors month. The month highlights fun activities you can do to enjoy the world around you and helps you lead a healthier lifestyle at the same time.
Explore a National Park:
Enjoy the warmer weather by fishing, hiking, or visiting a National Park. Not only will these activities get you up and off the couch, they are educational for your kids and family. Find your closest National Park.
Another great way to get outdoors is by volunteering. Many parks need help maintaining trails and restoring wildlife habitats. If you love animals, visit a local animal shelter and help them walk the dogs. Find volunteer opportunities near you.
Attend an Event:
Around the country, National Get Outdoors Day events will feature information centers and “active fun” areas where you can learn a new outdoor skill like fishing and learn about kayaking, mountain biking and more. Find an event near you.
Hurricane season started this month, and it is important to be ready for the worst if you live in an area that can be affected by hurricanes. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting six to ten hurricanes this season and half of them are predicted to be a Category 3 or above. Make sure you and your family are ready with these tips from FEMA:
Create an Emergency Kit:
Look around your house ahead of time to know what things should be in an emergency kit such as a flashlight, first aid kit and water and food for up to three days. Get a full list of recommended items at www.ready.gov.
Discuss a Communication Plan:
When a hurricane strikes, you may not be with your family. Having a plan ahead of time will allow for less panic during a storm. Decide on a way of communication, where you will meet and make sure everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency.
The National Hurricane Center can help you track storms online or on your mobile device. Stay alert to know what is coming your way.
Be prepared for hurricane season with more tips from Ready.gov.
June 9 is Ask Archivists Day, and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is participating in the event on Twitter.
Archivists collect, preserve, and protect our historical records and documents. This could be anything from old letters to photographs to emails. An archivist might be able to help you find information about your family using historical military records, land records, or ship passenger logs.
Archivists can help you answer questions such as:
What was the occupation of my great great grandfather?
Did I have any relatives immigrate through Ellis Island?
Who owned my house 100 years ago?
If you have a question for an archivist, just ask it on Twitter using the #AskArchivists hashtag on June 9. The @USNatArchives will be fielding questions for NARA and individual employees will be ready to help. You can also contact NARA via email or phone.
Other government agencies participating in Ask Archivists Day include:
Please note that archivists can’t perform detailed research for you, but they can point you in the right direction. If you’re new to archival research, NARA’s Getting Started Overview is a good introduction.
How to Avoid Mistakes When Applying for Citizenship
The naturalization ceremony is one of the most memorable moments in the life of many immigrants. In this formal ceremony, a person pledges allegiance to the United States and becomes a naturalized citizen.
But getting there is not easy. There are appointments to keep and tests to take. The process can be long and it’s easy to forget a document or signature, which can lead to delays. Some mistakes might even cost the applicant hundreds of dollars in lost costs.
The following tips will guide you through the application process so that you can become a citizen as quickly and easily as possible.
Double check the application
One of the most common mistakes when applying for citizenship is filing the N-400 application with omissions or mistakes, according to Nancy Guerrero, an immigration officer with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS.
“A lot of people focus too much on studying the 100 questions on the citizenship test, but they sometimes forget to double check the application before filing it,” she said.
To avoid mistakes, she recommends applicants:
Go over the application in detail to make sure it was filled out correctly and truthfully, especially if someone else helped complete the form
Make sure to include all documents pertinent to the N-400 application such as copies of both sides of the legal residency card and two identical color photographs
Include the correct application fee in a check or money order
Send additional documents
Once the application has been sent and accepted by USCIS, the applicant needs to interview with an immigration official where he or she will take a test about US civic life, as well as a basic English competency test.
Guerrero says the immigration officer will give the applicant a letter at the end of the interview and might request additional documents. If that’s the case, the person needs to comply with the request within the specified time and include the letter he or she received. Otherwise, the application might be delayed.
“This will help the paperwork move a lot quicker,” said Guerrero.
Make sure you meet special requirements
Some immigrants are exempt from taking the English test and might even take the civic test in their native language. These exceptions are given to people who:
Are 50 years or older when applying for citizenship and have lived in the United States as legal permanent residents for more than 20 years
Are 55 years or older when applying for citizenship and have lived in the United States as legal permanent residents for more than 15 years
Immigration officials offer a word of caution for people who want to take advantage of these exceptions: don’t send in your application if you don’t fully meet the requirements, even by one day. They say they often get applications from people who are about to qualify. Unfortunately for them, the application is returned and the application fee is not refunded.
VOICE: Becoming a naturalized citizen can be one of the most important milestones in an immigrant’s life. But it’s not always easy. There’s lots of paperwork to fill out, appointments to keep and tests to pass.
The following are the five most common mistakes people make when applying for citizenship. By avoiding these you’ll be able to save money, time and perhaps most importantly, stress.
Mistake number 1, sending the application without double checking it.
OFFICER: One common thing that we do notice is that when an applicant files for naturalization they do focus a lot on the 100 civic questions, the 100 civic questions that need to be studied for that portion of the test, but rarely do they go over the entire N-400 application that was more than likely completed by somebody else.
VOICE: Mistake number 2, forgetting to provide proof of spouse’s citizenship.
OFFICER: The application needs to be submitted with a copy of the spouse’s proof of citizenship as well as a marriage certificate.
VOICE: Mistake number 3, failing to send the application fee or sending the wrong amount.
Applications submitted without the fee or with the wrong amount will be rejected. The applicant is asked to resubmit the application with the correct fee.
VOICE: Mistake number 4, Neglecting to send additional documents in a timely manner.
OFFICER: It is important that the applicant returns the documents within the specified amount of time and that when they resubmit the documents, that they are being resubmitted with the letter that was given to them during the time of the interview. This will help the paperwork arrived to the file a lot faster.
VOICE: Mistake number 5, submitting an application before meeting certain requirements.
VOICE: When the person applying for citizenship wants to take the civic portion of the test in his or her native language, the applicant must satisfy the age and residency requirements at the time the application is submitted. Failure to do so might result in the application being rejected and the application fee lost.
Summer camps and summer school are not the only stimulating activities young people can do to have a productive summer. Another attractive option is to do volunteer work.
There’s no shortage of opportunities nationwide to do charitable work, from food banks and clothing drives, to community emergency preparedness and health events. No matter what you choose, it’s relatively easy to join a group of people working for a good cause.
Below you’ll find some of the resources available, whether you are looking to join a charitable group, create your own volunteer project or participate in long-term volunteer work.
How to Become a Volunteer
There are plenty of opportunities to do volunteer work, and Serve.gov is a great place to start your search. This is a website created by the federal government as part of a nationwide initiative that seeks to promote community service.
Serve.gov can help you:
Search for volunteer opportunities by topic of interest and geographical area
Learn about volunteer work available in your community
Get contact information for organizations seeking volunteers
Share your experience with others
How to Create Your Own Volunteer Project
You can also create your own volunteer project tailored to the needs of your community. This might be a good opportunity for parents and children to share a positive and stimulating activity.
Serve.gov has several toolkits to help you create a community campaign such as a food bank. The guides offer step-by-step instructions on how to build your own community project.
These toolkits can teach you how to:
Organize a book drive for low-income students who lack age-appropriate books
If you start your own project, you can also use Serve.gov to promote your initiative and to look for volunteers.
Long-Term Volunteer Work
For some, volunteering is a commitment that goes beyond the summer. There are federal programs that offer volunteer work both in the United States as well as in foreign countries:
AmeriCorps is a network of domestic volunteer programs that features full time volunteer work in different parts of the country. Here you’ll find opportunities in the areas of urban and rural development, infrastructure improvement and emergency assistance
Peace Corps offers full-time volunteer work in other countries for periods of about 27 months. Volunteers get to work in different areas of interest and in several parts of the world
E. coli is a type of bacteria that lives in your intestines. Most strains of E. coli are harmless, but certain types can make you sick. E. coli also lives in the intestines of animals, especially cows, and can contaminate muscle meat during slaughter.
But E. coli isn’t limited to meat. Vegetables that are grown with infected manure or washed with infected water can make you sick. You can also get the infection by swallowing water from a swimming pool that is contaminated with human waste.
To prevent E. coli infections, cook meat well, wash fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking them, and avoid unpasteurized milk and juices. Make sure to wash your hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat in order to prevent cross-contamination.
Yesterday the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) replaced the food pyramid with MyPlate.
MyPlate is a visual reminder to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. It also shows the other food groups that make a well-balanced meal: whole grains, lean proteins, and low fat dairy. MyPlate is based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Summertime isn’t officially here yet, but with a heat index yesterday of 104°, you could have fooled me! The weather is definitely a reminder that summer is right around the corner. It’s time to figure out where you put all of your summer clothes and summery type outdoor thingamabobs. Now is also the time of year when your summer travel is quickly approaching and I’m guessing the last thing on your mind is spending an evening at TSA.gov researching your travel questions. So, we’ve taken all of our best travel tips and provided them here in one place in a handy dandy blog post.
Can I Bring My… : What can you bring in your carry-on? What needs to be checked and what has to stay at home? Find out using our Can I Bring My… tool or take a look at our prohibited items list.
Foods: Food items that are in the form of a liquid or gel are generally not permitted however, items such as cakes, bread, donuts, ham sammiches, etc. are all permitted. Here is a list of items that are prohibited at the checkpoint… Creamy dips and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, salsa, jams and salad dressings, gravy (mmm gravy), jams, jellies, maple syrup, oils and vinegars, sauces, soups, wine, liquor and beer.
Family Lanes: Frequent flyers hate it when they’re in line behind a family, and guess what… families hate it when the frequent flyer is behind them tapping their foot and sighing. That’s why we created Family Lanes. They’re designed to let families take their time and ask questions without feeling rushed by the experienced frequent flyers who can zip through a checkpoint in no time. Also, as stated earlier, anybody carrying exemptible liquids, aerosols and gels in excess of 3.4 oz may be directed to a Family Lane.
How to Get Through the Line Faster: We put together some great tips on how to get through our lines faster. Click here to read tips about the right clothes to wear, which ID to use and many other helpful tips and videos. If you travel through an airport with Advanced Imaging Technology (Body Scanner), ensure you remove everything from your pockets whether it’s metal or paper to prevent you from having to undergo additional screening. Also wear easily removable shoes. For example, flip-flops or loafers would be easier to kick off than knee-high lace-up boots.
You can find more summer travel tips from Blogger Bob at the TSA blog.
Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released new recommended cooking temperatures for meats. Here’s what you need to know to make sure your meat is free of harmful bacteria such as E. coli:
Cooking Whole Cuts of Pork: USDA has lowered the recommended safe cooking temperature for whole cuts of pork from 160 ºF to 145 ºF with the addition of a three-minute rest time. Cook pork, roasts, and chops to 145 ºF as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source, with a three-minute rest time before carving or consuming. This will result in a product that is both safe and at its best quality—juicy and tender.
Cooking Whole Cuts of Other Meats: For beef, veal, and lamb cuts, the safe temperature remains unchanged at 145 ºF, but the department has added a three-minute rest time as part of its cooking recommendations.
June 1 marks the first day of the Atlantic hurricane season, and the National Hurricane Center has released the list of names for potential 2011 storms:
There are six different lists of storm names that are rotated from year to year. This year’s list will be used again in 2017, but the names of particularly devastating storms are removed. For example, Katrina was replaced with Katia in this year’s list of names.
Hurricanes and tropical storms have been named since 1953. When the naming system started, storms were all given female names. In 1979, male names were added to the list and now storms alternate between male and female names.