From: Environmental Health and Safety

Tailgating before home games is a big part of the Virginia Tech football tradition. Along with the tailgating fun comes safety concerns.

The typical tailgating setup can include generators, grills, portable fire pits, extension cords, TVs, satellite dishes, and more. Such devices, in close proximity to fuels, combustibles, and people, and present serious hazards.

Refer to the following Virginia Tech Environmental Health and Safety tips before your next tailgate.


  • Open flame fires, including fire pits, are prohibited. Propane and charcoal grills are permitted when used solely for food preparation.
  • Grills are not allowed within 50 feet of campus buildings, parking decks, or other designated no-grill areas.
  • Place a fire extinguisher in the tailgating area at least 5 feet away from the grill. Make sure the extinguisher is a multipurpose extinguisher that can fight fires caused by ordinary combustible, flammable liquids, or electrical equipment. Fire extinguishers have numerical ratings. Make sure the “A” number is at least 2 and the “B-C” number is at least 10. An ABC extinguisher is a good choice.
  • All fires and hot coals must be contained within grills or other containers designed specifically for that purpose and should never be left unattended.
  • Charcoal fires need to be extinguished thoroughly with water before leaving unattended. Tailgaters must place their charcoal in designated containers rather than dumping on the ground or in dumpsters. A limited number of hot charcoal containers are located in tailgate areas and are designed to accommodate hot or cold briquettes. If a container is not available in the area where you picnic, remove charcoal for safe disposal.
  • Always use match-light or quick-light type of charcoal. Lighter fluid is strongly discouraged.
  • Do not light a gas grill with the lid closed, which can result in an explosion.
  • Be aware of changing weather conditions. Winds can carry embers and debris which can lead to fires spreading.


  • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions and the associated hazards before operating a generator.
  • Generators are not allowed within 50 feet of campus buildings and other designated no-grill areas, including parking decks.
  • Never operate a generator near combustible material.
  • All generators and fuel should be kept at a safe distance from cooking appliances.
  • Never operate in wet conditions. Protect generators and electrical cords from exposure to rain and puddles.
  • If using extension cords, be sure they are UL listed, have a grounding pin, and are rated for the application. Check all extension cords for damage before using and do not use if the cord is damaged.
  • Be mindful where extension cords are run to avoid tripping hazards.

In addition, tailgaters should always have a first aid kid handy.

Click here to view an easy printable flyer of the safety tips above.

Please contact Environmental Health and Safety at 540-231-3600 for more information or with any questions.

Safe Tailgating Header Image
Grilling Tailgating Safety Tips
Generator Tailgating Safety Tips