With football season in full swing, enthusiastic fans are showing up at stadiums hours before kickoff to tailgate. Hanging out in the parking lot, grilling, and sharing food and conversation with fellow fans is a tradition for many, but it’s important to keep safety in mind.

Store and Prepare Food Properly

Store raw meat in sealed containers so it can’t come into contact with other foods and transmit harmful bacteria. Cook meat to a safe temperature. Don’t rely on its appearance or the amount of time it has spent on the grill; use a meat thermometer. Use ice or frozen gel packs to keep perishable foods cold. If you aren’t sure whether a food is safe, throw it out. Wash your hands before and after preparing food and clean surfaces and utensils frequently.

Grill Safely

Follow the stadium’s rules on grills. Make sure you know how to use your grill safely. Bring a fire extinguisher and first aid kit.

Before lighting a gas grill, use a soap and water solution to check the hose for leaks. If you see bubbles, there is a leak. Keep the lid open when lighting the grill. If the flame goes out, wait five minutes and then relight it.

If you have a charcoal grill, only use charcoal lighter fluid. Don’t add lighter fluid if a flame is already lit. Before you go in the stadium to watch the game, let the coals cool completely and put them in a metal container.

Enjoy Alcohol Responsibly

If you and some of your companions plan to drink alcoholic beverages, make sure there is at least one designated driver who won’t consume any alcohol. Offer an assortment of non-alcoholic beverages and encourage everyone who consumes alcohol to have non-alcoholic drinks, such as water, as well. Look out for each other to make sure an intoxicated person doesn’t do anything unsafe.

Protect Yourself from the Sun and Heat

Even on a winter day, you can get a sunburn if you spend hours outdoors. Apply sunscreen and lip balm with SPF throughout the day and wear a hat and sunglasses. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially if you’re grilling.

Don’t Fall Prey to Thieves

Lock up any items that you don’t plan to take into the stadium with you, such as your grill, cooler, and charcoal. Keep an eye on valuables, especially electronics, while tailgating. It would be easy for someone to walk away with a cellphone, and in a loud, raucous parking lot filled with other tailgaters, you might not notice until the thief was long gone.

Be Prepared for the Unexpected

Review your insurance coverage. An accident or illness can occur at any time, which is why you and your family should have medical insurance. Homeowners insurance can cover theft, even if belongings aren’t in your house when they are stolen. Petruzelo Insurance can help you compare coverage options and rates from several leading companies. Contact us today to learn more!