Safety Tips for Your Pre-Gaming Fun

Football season has officially kicked off, and gathering with loved ones before the game can be as much of an event as the game itself! Nothing says fall fun like cheering for your favorite team. Here are some tips to make sure your tailgate is the ultimate success:

1. Drive safely while finding a tailgating spot

Tailgate parties are often large events, with many groups of people heading to a common location (like a parking lot) and crowding around each car. Due to the community-led nature of the party, it can include all ages from seniors to children. Be cautious when driving into a spot and setting up your party.

2. When in doubt, throw it out

Besides the main course of typical grilled meats that are cooked in the open-air, sandwiches, chips, casseroles and other cooked dishes are also a staple at tailgate parties! You can bring portable refrigerators and snack tables to set everything up but ensure all your food is fresh either way. It’s especially easy for food to spoil when placed outside for more than two hours. When in doubt, throw it out.

3. Grill safely

It’s very important that you follow safe grilling practices for your tailgate party. First, you need to ensure that the grilled meat is fit for consumption by taking its temperature with an instant-read thermometer. Meats such as chicken and turkey should be cooked to at least 165°F, ground beef to at least 160°F, and steaks, pork chops and fish to 145°F. Keep a fire extinguisher close at hand every time you fire up the grill. Make sure you turn off the gas and douse the coals with water when you’re done.

It would also be helpful to have a first aid kit handy in case you get any burns or cuts.

4. Follow fire safety measures

Avoid grilling in a tent or in close quarters where people may graze the grill. After you’re done grilling, do not leave the coals burning or dump them anywhere. It’s best to wait until they’re sufficiently cool and dispose of them safely.

5. Outdoor sun protection and hydration

Tailgate parties are outdoor events, so ensure you have enough sunscreen on you! While hats and caps might do the trick on most days, it’s important to apply SPF every couple of hours. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to ensure you don’t get dehydrated before the game/event.