There’s nothing like a fall tailgate party in the company of your friends and family. Many sports fans look forward to the warm cider, hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill and fun games of cornhole before football kickoff. While tailgating parties are lots of fun, it’s still important to be conscious of safety. Whether you’re hitting the road to your favorite sporting venue, or enjoying a tailgate party at home, be sure to follow these safety tips:
- Practice food safety. If you’re handling raw or uncooked meat, pack it in a cooler that is full of ice so you do not get food poisoning. As an FYI, cold foods should be maintained at a temperature below 40o for safe consumption. Avoid cross-contamination by wrapping meats separately and washing your cooking utensils after you use them. Finally, never forget to wash your hands with soap and water, or wipe them thoroughly with antibacterial wipes if you can’t access soap and water, after touching raw meat.
- Be mindful of your grill. Whatever you do, don’t grill in or near your vehicle.
- Keep your grill and other combustible items, at least six feet away from your vehicle and keep a portable fire extinguisher and first aid kit nearby.
- If you’re traveling with a gas grill, disconnect the tank from your grill and keep it in an upright position. Make sure there are no leaks and open the grill before you light the pilot to begin cooking to avoid a buildup of gas. When you’re done, turn off the gas shut-off valve and allow some time for the fire to extinguish. Only put the propane tank back in your vehicle once you have given it enough time to cool.
- If you’re traveling with a charcoal grill, use approved charcoal and lighter fluid (not debris or rubbish). Once you’re done cooking, give the charcoal enough time to cool completely before disposing of them.
- Drink responsibly. Plan a designated driver for the afternoon. If you’ve consumed alcoholic beverages during your tailgating party, lean on your driver to get you home safely.