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Tips to keep game-day tailgating safe and fun

safety-tips-tailgaiting
Keep the fun in your game-day festivities by following safety steps.

Football game day fuels emotions and festivities, whether you’re rooting for your college alma mater or your favorite pro team. Don’t let the distractions of tailgating, friendly get-togethers, the game or your busy neighborhood lead you to disregard safety issues.

Before decking out in your favorite team colors, keep these tips in mind:

  • Follow all posted rules for your tailgating site.
  • Make sure your grill is placed a reasonable distance away from your vehicle. Heat from the grill can damage the paint and could ignite the gas tank.
  • Place a fire extinguisher next to the tailgating grill. Make sure the extinguisher is a multipurpose extinguisher that can fight fires cause by ordinary combustible, flammable liquids or electrical equipment. Fire extinguishers have numerical ratings. Make sure the “A” number is at least 2 and the “B-C” number is at least 10.
  • Package and separate raw meats and poultry in your cooler to prevent contact with other foods, particularly raw vegetables.
  • Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Pack enough ice to keep foods from spoiling.
  • Use a meat thermometer to determine internal temperatures. You can’t tell if meat or poultry is cooked well enough based on color alone.
  • Wash your hands when handling food. Stock plenty of soap, water and disposable towels for the day.
  • Extinguish fully the hot coals of a charcoal grill before placing them back in your car.
  • Dispose of trash at your tailgating site before you leave or carry it away with you.
  • Keep all valuable possessions – such as phones, wallets and purses – with you at all times or lock them in your car, out of view. Thieves often exploit the distractions from the football festivities to steal property.
  • Be extra vigilant to the increased pedestrian traffic when driving around campus or near the pro stadium. Pedestrians may not be paying attention to where they are going.
  • Confirm that someone will drive you home before you decide to drink alcohol. Even if you’ve had only a couple of drinks, it is never smart to get behind the wheel of a car while impaired.
  • Keep your celebrations on the sideline. Despite your team winning a big rivalry game, rushing the field is never smart or safe. Rushing the field could lead to your being rushed to the hospital. The practice has been banned by some college conferences and NFL teams, and fans rushing the field will result in penalties or fines for the team.

Crowded campuses, sports venues and tailgating are happening every weekend in the fall. The key to making your game day experience one to remember starts with safety.

More information:

The USDA’s Tailgating Food Safety Q&A

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services site

Partnership for Food Safety Education’s Fight Bac site

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