Safety Source: Put These Safety Tips in Your Tailgate Playbook

tailgate safety

While the residual heat from a hot summer is slow to exit, that doesn’t put a damper on everyone’s favorite time of the year: football season.

With the ice chests filled, footballs being tossed, and food on the grill, the conversations, competitions, and memories can begin. However, before the weekend hits its stride, it is important to consider some extra precautions to ensure your tailgate party goes off without a hitch. Each element of your tailgate setup and each item on your game day schedule can easily become safe for you and everyone else.


  1. Use your gas grill correctly: Inspect your grill for damage prior to loading it up. Never transport a propane grill with the tank connected, and always transport the tank in an upright position. When lighting your grill, make sure the lid is open to prevent any vapor from creating an explosion. Also check for loose or damaged hoses, and make sure your propane tank is tightly secured. Keep an eye on kids, pets, and other guests as they get near a lit grill to prevent burns. And never store flammables in your car during the game.
  2. Always have a fire extinguisher: Combining a hot grill, burning match, or lit cigarette with leaves and other debris brings the potential for fire. Have the correct fire extinguisher on hand and know how to use it.
  3. Keep an eye on food temperature: Nothing can ruin your day faster than food poisoning. Whether you’re cooking burgers, hot dogs, or chicken, make sure you are maintaining a safe food temperature. Prevent bacteria by storing food in a cold ice chest. Recommended food temperatures can be found here.
  4. Bring sunscreen and hydrate: After a long day in the sun you may find yourself with quite a sunburn. Wearing sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses can help prevent skin damage. Also be sure to hydrate as you throw the football around. Dehydration can quickly sneak up on you.
  5. Pack a first aid kit: This is a great rule for anywhere that you go, but can be especially helpful while tailgating. Skinned knees, scratches, cuts, and burns can all be treated with a quality first aid kit.
  6. Designate a Driver: Make sure you designate a driver before the game and stick to your plan to ensure you make it home safely. Offer to buy the DD non-alcoholic drinks during the game and maybe pitch in for a few snacks to say thanks for their duty. And always offer your tailgating companions non-alcoholic choices, including bottled water.

While these are only a few tips, keep them in mind and make this football season a safe one.

Sources: All State Insurance | Safewise | Prince George's County Fire/EMS | FoodSafety.Gov | U.S. Fire Administration

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