When it comes to college football team spirit, no state beats Florida. Thousands of Floridians are counting down to the start of college football season on August 30, when the reigning Fiesta Bowl champions from Central Florida (UCF) take on Penn State in Dublin, Ireland.

Whether you will be tuning in on your television to watch that opening game or heading to the Bright House Networks Stadium for Family Weekend on September 20 or the homecoming game against Temple on October 25, you can help prevent personal injury by keeping a few simple safety tips in mind:

Going to the Game

When you head to college football games this fall, put safety first:

  • Drink responsibly. Plan a sober way to get home before you go to the game. It could involve calling a cab, relying on a designated driver or using public transportation. While you are at the game, stick to just one or two drinks. After all, you want to remember this event.
  • Grill safely. Designate one “grillmaster” and keep the rest of the party at a safe distance. Never let kids use or play near a grill.
  • Avoid food poisoning. Bring clean coolers with plenty of ice to store condiments and foods that might spoil such as potato salad. Cook grilled foods to an internal temperature of 160 degrees to kill bacteria that could make you sick.
  • Know where the exits are. Take a few seconds inside the stadium to find the exits. This information is handy whether you need to leave in an emergency or you just want to make a quick getaway when the game ends.
  • Stay in touch. Is your group meeting up after the game, and if so, where? How will you find someone who has wandered off? Make a plan, even if it’s just texting one another in the post-game crowd.

Watching at Home

Not everyone who loves Florida football heads to the stadium each weekend – especially for away games like UCF’s opener in Ireland! If you are holding the party at home, you can still play it safe:

  • Be a responsible social host. Never let your guests drink and drive. Stop serving alcohol when the third quarter begins – this is a great time to bring out desserts instead. Don’t hesitate to call a cab or let a friend crash on your couch if it helps them stay safe.
  • Watch the kids. It’s easy to get carried away by the game and forget that children, especially young ones, might be getting themselves in trouble somewhere in the house or yard. Designate one adult to keep an eye on the kids at all times.  For big games, consider hiring a babysitter.
  • Learn CPR and basic first aid. You can address a lot of simple injuries at home – or even save a life – with the skills you learn in a CPR and first aid class.  Contact your local Red Cross for more information.
  • Don’t abandon the grill. You would never walk away from the grill at a tailgate party. Don’t do it at home, either. It only takes a few seconds for a fire to spread, especially in dry weather. Keep a bucket, fire extinguisher or hose handy in case of accidents.
  • Keep the house in good shape. Broken steps, cluttered walkways, burned-out light bulbs and wobbly railings on stairs and decks might all injure an unsuspecting guest. Keep these little details in good shape to ensure your guests all have a good, injury-free time.


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