Tailgating refers to partying or picnicking from the bed of a parked pickup truck, often in the parking lots of sports stadiums prior to football games. Tailgating season in Alabama can lead to thousands of football fans parked in stadium parking lots and surrounding areas. Unfortunately, not all tailgaters pay adequate attention to safety – resulting in serious injuries such as burns, broken bones, concussions, and heatstroke. If you plan on tailgating this season, practice these tips to celebrate safely.
Follow the Rules
The University of Alabama Quad has a list of rules tailgaters should obey before football games. These include where to park, what to bring, and how to find shuttle services. The University enforces rules for everyone’s safety. Following the rules can help keep your party safe from hazards such as parking too close to the road, using dangerous grills, or bringing banned items into the stadium. Review the rules and regulations where you plan on tailgating to avoid physical injuries and legal trouble.
Practice Grill Safety
Every Tide tailgater should only bring grills to the party if the location permits them. The Quad does permit grills, but does not allow any other cooking methods, including campfires. Grills cannot come within 50 feet of campus buildings, nor can they go inside tents. All tailgaters must extinguish fires and put charcoal in designated containers. Follow the location’s rules for grills to help prevent fires. Know how to use your grill safely and efficiently before taking it to a tailgating party.
Bring a Fire Extinguisher
Having a fire extinguisher handy is important for tailgating safety. It can ensure a fast and effective way of putting out an uncontrollable fire if a grill, firepit, or firework goes awry. Burns are common tailgating injuries. Keep burn ointments and a first-aid kit close by just in case. Tailgaters with grills or fire pits must have fire extinguishers within 15 feet of the cooking area if tailgating in the Quad. At least one person attending the party must have training on how to use the fire extinguisher.
Prevent Food From Spoiling
Food poisoning is a serious hazard of tailgating. First-timers may not adequately plan their meals or store their food for extended tailgating and game-day events. This can lead to spoiled foods and serious illnesses. Follow food temperature safety guidelines with everything you bring. Make sure to keep dairy products and meats on ice all day. Grill meat correctly to ensure it is thoroughly cooked. Do not eat food that has been sitting out for longer than two hours.
Drink Plenty of Water
Dehydration and heat stroke can be a risk for Alabama tailgaters on hot fall days – especially if they have been drinking alcohol. Heat-related illnesses can cause headaches, dizziness, dry skin, disorientation, fever, and loss of consciousness. If you are spending long hours in the sun, either in a parking lot or on stadium bleachers, plan accordingly. Wear sunscreen, drink plenty of water throughout the day, and limit physical exertions such as playing tailgating games. Find shade and water if you begin to feel nauseous or overheated.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Drinking is part of the fun for many tailgaters, but it can increase the risk of personal injuries. Alcohol can increase the chance of a fall incident, violence, dehydration, and drunk driving accidents. Designate a sober driver before your tailgate event. Only bring a limited amount of alcohol to control how much everyone drinks. Note that the UA Quad does not permit alcohol in its Family Friendly Tailgate zone. This zone is in the corner of Campus Drive and Hackberry Lane. If you plan on tailgating here, know that the campus strictly enforces alcohol rules, and can issue fines or expel people from the Quad.