Every fall, football fans pile into stadium parking lots to support their favorite team by tailgating before the big game. And while grilling mixes well with tailgating, an unintentional flare-up or injury does not.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 3,800 gas or charcoal grill-related injuries were treated in hospital emergency departments in 2010, the majority of which were burns.
As tailgating continues to be an increasing trend, UL (Underwriters Laboratories), recommends tailgaters pay as much attention to safety as they do to their menu and follow some simple guidelines before an unfortunate tragedy occurs.
Top tips to keep in mind as you pack up for the parking lot include:
Prep for Safety First:
- Be sure to bring the following:
- Spray bottle
- Insulated hand mitts
- Long-handled barbeque tongs
- Fire extinguisher
- First aid kit
- Make sure all hose connections on gas grills are properly tightened.
- Once settled in your parking spot, position your grill a safe distance from any buildings or parked vehicles and don’t set up your tailgate underneath wooden overhangs or near tree branches as grill fires could flare up and ignite them.
- Place all grills on a firm, level surface to help maintain stability and reduce the chances of a tipover.
- As you set up and then grill, keep kids and pets at least three feet away from the grill and throughout the tailgate, have someone in charge of the grill so they can keep an eye on it at all times.
- Although team spirit is always part of a tailgate, keep decorations away from your grill. Decorations like tents and banners add a festive touch, but they also provide fuel for a fire. What’s more, today’s décor is often made of synthetic materials that burn fast and hot, so keep them far from the grilling area.
Safety While Grilling:
- Never start a gas grill with the lid closed because it causes gas to build up inside creating a possible explosion hazard.
- Never leave the grill unattended, especially when children are nearby.
- Never add charcoal igniter fluid after the coals have started to burn.
- Don’t use gas or kerosene to start a charcoal grill. Not only might the food taste bad, but doing this could cause a fire or explosion.
- Let coals cool completely before disposing of them or place them into a metal container designated for that purpose as charcoal can get up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
- When you’ve cooked your last burger or hot dog, extinguish charcoal by dousing with bottled water or even the melted ice from your cooler. Once you extinguish your grill, give it a few minutes to cool down, and when it’s no longer hot to the touch, you can pack it up and put it back in your vehicle. Extinguish gas models by turning the fuel off early enough so that it’s cool to the touch when you’re ready to go.
- Properly dispose of food remnants and packaging according to venue rules and leave your tailgating site as tidy as you first found it.
With football season in full swing, you may be ready to get your tailgating party underway, but don’t forget to make safety a priority. Plan ahead, stay safe and have fun!