If you love sports, especially football, is there anything better than getting together with friends and family, great food, and being able to talk about your team? Tailgating before football games is one of the best traditions for fans. But even though you are there to have fun, here are some suggestions for a safer tailgating experience.
Preparation and communication is key. If you are going with a group of people or meeting up with people, know who is bringing what to the party. Have a list of what food and cooking equipment each person is responsible for. Communicate on where to meet up. If there are multiple vehicles, drive as a caravan so you are able to park close to each other. Have a back-up location in case the initial place is unavailable. Arrive at your site early or if able, park the vehicle the night before and get dropped off the next day.
Food Safety is very important, especially when cooking raw meat. If you are using a grill, protect it from the weather and from it being possibly bumped into by other people. If using a charcoal grill, make sure the coals are completely cooled down before disposing them. Prep as much as you can before the actual day so there is less work and more fun on game day.
Keep a fire extinguisher handy and a first aid kit. You never know when it will be needed.
Watch out for each other and other tailgaters. When alcohol is involved, situations can escalate and get out of control quickly. Have a designated driver. If you have a large party, have more than one sober/designated driver. They can help de-escalate situations.
Dress appropriately for the weather or have other clothing available. Blankets can be used in multiple ways. They can keep you warm, be used on the ground for more seating, and can hang off of vehicles for shade. Use sunscreen.
Bring games to play. Meet other fans. Enjoy the experience!
– Chandra Cunningham, DC
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