By Sarah Fichter

There is nothing like having a tailgate in the parking lot of your favorite sports team – professional or college. Having fun in the sun, eating good food and enjoying cold beverages with family and friends is a blast. But if not planned carefully, your tailgate could take a turn for the worse. Knowing the below tips to keep your family and friends safe is crucial to ensuring a great tailgating experience.

Sanitation is Key

Tailgating may require a person enjoying the outdoors to use porta-potties, cook in the elements, etc. The risk of getting sick from the bacteria around you is elevated. To combat this, try the following.

  • Keep hand sanitizer near and use it often
  • Make sure to wipe down any surfaces and cutting boards if raw meat has been in contact
  • Designate your coolers for only drinks and only food to keep from cross-contamination
  • Paper plates are essential because you never want to reuse a plate that has had raw meat on it
  • Have lots of bags of ice to keep your food from getting spoiled in the sun
  • Don’t leave your food sitting out too long. The sun could make your food go bad

Meat Temps

Food poisoning is not the tailgate memory you want your guests to have after the big day! To avoid this, follow these tips:

  • Ground beef must reach a temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Chicken must reach a temperature of at least 180 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Steak must reach a temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Hot dogs must reach a temperature of at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Pork Chops must reach a temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit

Bring a First Aid Kit & a Fire Extinguisher

Accidents can happen at a tailgate, so it is essential to have a first aid kit handy if someone is injured. Since cooking and grilling are tailgating staples, fire safety is essential. If there is an oil fire or grill accident, a fire extinguisher will help keep everyone safe and prevent a big fire. Red Cross has various options for first aid kits that have everything a person would need in case of an injury, and First Alert offers a variety of fire extinguishers to buy for your tailgate.

Stay Hydrated

A person tailgating may be outside for hours in the hot sun and enjoying alcoholic beverages throughout the day. A person can quickly become dehydrated with the combination of the sun and alcohol. Symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, headache and nausea. Water is your best friend to avoid these symptoms! Drinking soda, juice or alcohol can dehydrate, so drinking plenty of water throughout the day is essential.

Designated Drivers can Save Lives

There is nothing wrong with enjoying a modest amount of alcohol at a tailgate party if you are of legal age. But remember that eventually, you must find the way home. Assigning designated drivers before the tailgate party allows your group to get home safely and avoid hurting others on the road. Remember, it varies by state, but in Kansas, it is against the law to drive or attempt to operate a motor vehicle while having a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or above.

Finally, it’s not just you on the road; anywhere that a large group of vehicles are gathered, accidents or break-ins may happen. Make sure you are insured for these unfortunate instances with auto insurance. Need help? Contact TrustPoint Insurance & Real Estate today.