Headed to the Super Bowl? Check Your Urine -- and 12 Other Safety Tips
Headed to Mercedes-Benz Stadium this year? Lucky you! You'll be at one of the most exciting and traveled-to events of the year. And you'll witness in person the highly anticipated NFL showdown between the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots, as they battle it out on the field for the coveted No. 1 title in pro football.
Off the field, however, be forewarned: Navigating large crowds, travel and tailgating all come with risks every attendee should be wary of. Here's what you need to know:
It’s no secret that all those Super Bowl fans will be psyched up to see their players hit center stage before the game and that a lot of drinking will ensue. So, whether you're tailgating inside or outside the stadium (or at a game watch party), staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do to sustain your alcohol intake for the duration of the day.
Have an emergency exit plan beforehand. Whether you will be surrounded by people you’ve known for years or by new friends, if you'll be drinking as part of a group, have an exit strategy, should you need to leave the stadium (or watch party). If you have a family member or friend who'll be sober, make sure that person is aware that he or she is part of your emergency plan.
Write down your emergency contact list. When was the last time you had to memorize your friends' or significant other's phone number? Set your emergency contact in your "health" app on your phone, so the medical team on-site can use this feature to dial your emergency contact should you or someone you know is incapacitated.
Layer up. Ambient outside temperature can play a big role in your comfort and health. Keep in mind that temperatures fluctuate rapidly once the sun goes down, so layering up is a good idea. You can always remove layers while the sun is beating down, but once that temperature drops, your options become limited. The staff at our event company brings extra clothing specifically for this purpose, to give to anyone in need and -- if necessary -- send that person home well protected and warm. Those who aren’t as lucky will either need to purchase some very expensive branded items or concede to freezing (and potential hypothermia).
Drink water. As a rule of thumb, one alcoholic beverage should be accompanied by one glass of water. One way I advise tracking your hydration is to check your urine. If it is a darker than usual yellow or orange, you'll need to hydrate ASAP. You’ll also know you are dehydrated if you haven’t used the restroom in a few hours.
While it may seem trivial, the enormous crowd at an event like the Super Bowl can create a lot of anxiety for some people, and stampedes are not uncommon. Pre-existing conditions such as anxiety, claustrophobia or enochlophobia may be exacerbated. To be ready for that:
Know the medication rules. Make sure to read the list of what is allowed into the venue, paying particular attention to medication rules. As a rule, if you bring your prescription medication in its original bottle, make sure the presription is not expired and that you've brought enough to get you through the event. Again, each venue has different regulations, so make sure you read the rules before attending.
Know where the exits are. For many of the events we staff, this is one of the most important things we tell guests. As you are getting to your seat, take a few moments to ascertain where the exits are, or ask the ushers and staff. They are there to help you.
Take a break if the crowd is getting out of control. It’s the big game, but it’s perfectly OK to step out of the action for five minutes to buy a water bottle to stay hydrated and mediate any anxieties. This past September, due to a false alarm of an active shooter at Global Citizen Festival, mass panic erupted, resulting in trampling and stampeding.
Distance yourself from others who might become dangerous. Excessive drinking and trash talk with strangers are simply a bad idea to mix in with football. Don’t become a viral video: If a fight seems likely to break out, get out of the situation ASAP, or call security on a dangerous individual you feel puts your personal safety is at risk. We work hand in hand with the police and local law enforcement, and we have had to call for assistance from these kinds of individauls at our tents in the past.
Don't wear loose clothing or accessories that could be grabbed. Stick together with your friends/family if the crowd is pushing you along. Keep your accessories, necklaces and arms in close to your body to avoid contact with other fans. I’ve seen many torn earlobes from earrings and other dangling accessories, especially if costumes are involved at an event. Our staff wears break-away lanyards, as people sometimes reach and pull for something to grab.
Be sure your phone is charged. Pack a portable battery in case you need it. Program your phone to vibrate as well as ring. Oftentimes, it is hard for emergency responders to contact next of kin in an emergency, and if you lose your phone, or your battery dies, or you cannot access your phone at all, you'll find it hard to reach your loved ones.
A post-game reminder
Leave early or late to avoid the rush. Sticking around for the Trophy Ceremony could very well be the safest bet for this event, as you will avoid the droves of cars and rideshare traffic outside the stadium.
Walk around crowds instead of pushing through. Staying at the edges of a large crowds is much safer than remaining in its center, as you'll always have a definitive exit route.
Then, there's perhaps the most important reminder of the evening:
Do not let anyone who's been drinking get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, the Super Bowl is one of the worst days of the year for drunk drivers, as it has been estimated that in the United States, fans consume more than 325 million gallons of beer to celebrate this event, leading to a spike in DWIs and DUI arrests. So, if you are at the main event or the guest at a watch party or bar, ask someone to call you a ride-share like Uber of Lyft so you can make it home safe.
Also, think about using a designated driver app such as Drybver or StearClear. Surge pricing and availability during a large event will impact your wallet but this will be a small price to pay compared to what an accident will cost in the long run.
Don’t become a statistic. Stay safe, have fun, and go team!