Football season has arrived, and for many that means the return of a fan-favorite activity: tailgating.
Published: September 8, 2023
As you prepare to have fun and create memories this fall, one University of Alabama at Birmingham expert is sharing a few electrical safety tips to keep in mind as you prepare to tailgate this year.
Use generators responsibly
Remember not to overload generators. Having too many things feeding from the same source of energy could cause the generator to react negatively.
If a generator trips off, remove some of the load or consider what you are using. It may be too big in comparison to the power source.
“‘If you don’t need it, don’t use it’ is a good point of reference for electric devices when tailgating,” Floyd says. “It’s always best to have only the things you are specifically using or need at that time plugged in.”
One of the biggest safety precautions with generators is to make sure to never use them in an enclosed space.
“Gas-powered generators emit exhaust and fumes,” Floyd says. “Always use them in a free-flowing air environment away and a reasonable distance from the crowd because they omit carbon monoxide, which is odorless but dangerous.”
Utilize ground fault circuit interrupters
One of the most significant electrical safety technologies ever developed is the ground fault circuit interrupter. Since its debut, GFCIs have nearly eliminated almost all electrical shocks from using electrical outlets in the home.
Portable GFCIs can be purchased and used in conjunction with a generator to increase the level of safety when using an appliance or extension cord. GFCIs detect the flow of current running to and from and will disrupt the current when there is an imbalance, preventing someone using an electrical device from being shocked.
“Portable GFCIs can add a significant level of protection from any power source,” Floyd says. “Adding these to your tailgating supply list is a beneficial investment in electrical safety.”
Inspect all electrical devices in use
Always inspect all devices you are using for any damages or exposed wiring. Never continue using a device with visibly worn cords.
“Any cord that is frayed or worn, immediately stop using,” Floyd says. “About 15 percent of electrocution fatalities in the United States are from defective cords because the person came into contact with the electrical energy,”
Ensure the extension cords you are using are rated to be used outdoors.
“Certain extension cords are specifically engineered to withstand pressure and UV rays, and those are the ones you should be using outside for tailgating,” Floyd adds.
Staying weather-aware is another necessary precaution when tailgating. Lightning poses an intense danger and can be even more dangerous when mixed with using electrical devices outdoors.
“You should never continue use of electrical equipment outdoors when lightning is present,” Floyd says. “Review the forecast before tailgating, and always adhere to good judgment if there is a potential for severe weather.”