Many of us enjoy opening our homes to others when celebrating birthdays, holidays, weddings or hosting a dinner for a nonprofit organization. Entertaining guests is a huge responsibility, whether it involves people eating the food you are serving, providing your guests with alcoholic beverages or children running around the premises. Should an injury, sickness or slanderous comments arise, people tend to get upset and share their experiences through social media, which could possibly damage your reputation or result in civil liability.
Tips and preventative measures:
Place foods that require a cooler temperature, such as caviar, sushi and cocktail shrimp, on top of a bed of ice to keep them cool and fresh throughout the party and help avoid spoiling.
Keep hot food on top of a burner and make sure meats are thoroughly cooked to a safe temperature to help prevent food-borne illness.
Designate a bartender. Check for signs of intoxication when serving alcohol to guests. If any signs are present, stop serving the guest alcohol and have them drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Encourage designated drivers and keep phone numbers of cab companies handy. If a guest who drove is intoxicated, help arrange for another means for them to get home. This will help prevent them from getting arrested for a DUI and/or causing injuries or even death to others while operating their vehicle.
Serve plenty of non-alcoholic beverage options especially toward the end of the gathering.
Keep a currently serviced fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen and in the backyard. Having immediate access to a fire extinguisher can help cut the response time should an accidental fire ignite while cooking, barbecuing or sitting around a fire pit.
Fire pits and outdoor fireplace:
Cover the fire pit and fireplace with a mesh screen to keep embers from flying out. Keep the area within three feet of the fire free of decorations or other combustible materials. Sitting comfortably around a fire pit or fireplace can be cozy, but getting too close may cause serious burns.
Always check the stability of a deck before people stand on it. If there are any loose areas, have it fixed or replaced immediately by a licensed contractor to help prevent someone from falling or tripping or risking a deck collapse.
Check all light bulbs to make sure they are in proper working order before the event begins. Replace bulbs as needed. If there is not enough lighting, install outdoor string lighting to avoid trip or fall hazards.