Monday, March 25, 2019
Legally Speaking

5 Tips for Tailgating and Football Season

Another football season is upon us, and it’s time for the tailgating burgers and beers. Each Saturday and Sunday—and sometimes Monday and Thursday—during the fall, thousands of adoring fans pile grills and coolers into their cars and head for the stadiums to cheer on their favorite teams. However fun tailgating and football can be, there are certain things to remember in order to keep your friends and family safe this football season.

Practice Grill Safety

A recent story out of Central Florida shows the dangers of using explosive gases incorrectly. A woman and her husband were badly burned when their propane gas grill exploded inside of their car when one of them lit a cigarette. The couple did not know that the grill was on, but the simple lighting of the cigarette was enough to cause an explosion that caused severe harm and could have caused a death. If you use a grill, make sure that whoever is operating it understands exactly how to properly prepare, clean, and transport the equipment. Also make sure that no one lights a fire or cigarette near where propane is being used.

Food Safety

Grilling hamburgers and hotdogs is a staple at any tailgate, but with all that raw meat around, it’s important that proper precautions are taken to ensure no one is consuming food that can make them sick. If you bring raw meat to your tailgate, make sure that it is in separate containers, especially away from any food that will be eaten uncooked, such as veggies. You don’t want your guests to be exposed to any kind of bacteria or disease that can be found in raw meat prior to being cooked. Any utensils or plates that are used for preparing raw meat should be discarded or kept away from cooked food. Also, keep any dairy-based sides or condiments in a refrigerated or iced cooler. For example, sides such as potato, egg, or macaroni salad should be kept cold, as mayo can spoil if left in the heat.

Stadium Safety

Prior to attending the game, make sure that you take a look at the website for the stadium. Locate all exits, medical help, or emergency service locations. If you are taking children to the game, make sure that they know where to locate these services as well. Pick a designated meeting spot within the stadium to meet if you and your children are separated in the crowd. If you are sitting in different locations, make sure to pick a safe spot to meet inside or outside of the stadium at the conclusion of the game. It could be chaotic after a big game, and cell service may be interrupted with thousands of people attempting to make calls at the same time. Therefore, it’s important to pick a spot before the game starts, and make sure that everyone in your group knows exactly where they should meet. It’s also important to note that stadiums have a responsibility for the safety and security of individuals on their property. This includes providing adequate security, ample lighting, and removing hazardous obstructions that could result in a serious injury.

Fan Safety

Football games can bring out many emotions in people. Everyone wants his/her team to be the winner, but the fact is that only one team can achieve victory. With all the emotions present and alcohol consumed at stadiums, it’s important to keep calm if someone is acting aggressively. If there are unruly fans near you, contact stadium personnel, and don’t engage with those people. Tempers may be flaring if people are unhappy at the outcome of the game, but it’s important to remain as calm as possible and ask for help before attempting to engage with someone who may have negative intentions.

Alcohol Safety and Hydration

It’s tempting to put back a few beers before, during, and after the game, but also important to take into consideration the effects of alcohol in an intense environment such as a football game. Pay attention to your consumption, and make sure that the alcohol is not making you feel more aggressive toward other fans. Consider appointing a designated driver to take everyone home after the game. Safety should be your number one concern, especially if children are present. Speaking of beverages, make sure that you and your family are staying hydrated throughout the game as well. Many of these games happen during the worst heat of the day, and it’s easy to forget to drink water while you’re busy cheering. Heat-related illnesses are serious, and can be avoided if you are properly hydrating and taking breaks from the sun. Keep extra water bottles in the car, and buy water with every alcoholic beverage you consume at the stadium. Football games and tailgating should be lots of fun, but there are always dangers in these activities. If proper safety procedures are followed, and people are aware of their emotions and alcohol consumption, these events can even be more enjoyable without a negative incident.

If you feel as though you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another who was not following proper safety procedures, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney may be able to help you recover financially from your injuries.

Mitchell J. Panter is Board Certified as a Civil Trial Lawyer by the Florida Bar and National Board of Trial Advocacy, primarily practicing in the areas of Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, Product Liability, Sexual Assault, Food Contamination and Premises Liability Cases. You can reach Mitchell at or 305 662-6178. You can also visit the office at 6950 N Kendall Dr., Miami, FL 33156.

Mitchell Panter
the authorMitchell Panter