How To Stay Safe When Tailgating In Philadelphia

Enjoy your safe Eagles tailgate (Credit, Cassie Hepler)

Week 12 of the NFL 2012 season brings the Philadelphia Eagles home for some Monday night football, and Eagles fans will head out to the Linc for a night of tailgating to cheer for their Eagles as they take on the Carolina Panthers

Philadelphia is in full holiday swing after the Thanksgiving Day Parade kicked off the official start to the season just a few days ago, and after a weekend of feasting on leftovers, celebrating with family and friends and plenty of football, fans are ready for more. They want more feasting, more celebrating with family and friends and more football before heading back to work and the hustle and bustle of the holidays. That’s what Monday night’s game is all about.

Tailgating and the holidays share a lot in common: good food, party atmosphere and celebration. These same ingredients can bring about trouble if you’re not careful though, so it’s a good idea to keep your guard up as you let your hair down. Keeping that in mind, the following are a few tips for trouble-free tailgating.

Handle Food with Care

  • Make sure to properly thaw your meats before cooking (in a fridge 40 degrees or below), and marinate in the fridge or cooler rather than next to the grill.
  • Use hot soapy water on utensils and cutting boards you plan to use for cooked meats if you’ve had raw meats on them first.
  • Keep a meat thermometer on hand to make sure foods are properly cooked.
  • Perishable foods shouldn’t stay out of the fridge or cooler for more than two hours.

Grill with Caution

  • If you’re using charcoal, make sure the coals are hot enough before tossing the meat on the grill. Give the grill a good 30 minutes and look for a light coating of grey on the coals to indicate they’re ready.
  • Thoroughly douse and properly dispose of coals.
  • If you’re using a gas grill and having trouble, disconnect everything after first turning off the fuel tank. Because gas grills heat up quickly and can get very hot all over, be careful of all grill parts that could have heated up, even the knobs.

Celebrate Responsibly

Tis the season, this is true, but that’s no excuse to risk your safety or the safety of others. The rules are simple and finite on this subject. If you plan to drive, don’t drink. If you plan to drink, bring a designated driver. If you plan to serve alcohol at your tailgate, don’t take chances. Cut off your friends (even those you just met) and check those IDs if you’re not sure they should be drinking. One of the most dangerous things to do while drinking is operating a grill. One or two beers while grilling may not phase you, but if you start feeling buzzed, pass the tongs to someone else for a bit.

Stay Alert

Sure, you know this rule, but it’s easy to forget when you and everyone else around you is having fun. Don’t let your guard down, especially during the holidays. Thieves are opportunists and are just waiting for you to get lazy. You know the drill. Lock your vehicle doors when you are not in it. Don’t leave anything of value out in the open if you’re not going to be right there with it.

Bottom line: Have fun, be smart and stay safe!

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Christy Ayala covers sports, recreation, the outdoors, and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. Her work can be found on

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