New Year's Eve is the holiday most associated with parties. It is also associated with injuries, accidents and death. Don't allow your holiday memories to include any of these situations. There are safety techniques you and your family can follow to keep this ringing in of 2009 as safe as it can be.
Many people choose to go out to parties at other people's houses or to large events hosted by businesses or the government. These events can be a lot of fun with music and often fireworks. Crowds of people make the event seem more festive. There's nothing like starting the new year with thousands of your closest friends.
Most of the nation has been hit with extreme weather this winter. Along with the presence of many drunk drivers, New Year's traveling may include snow, freezing rain and icy roads. Make sure you check what the weather is going to be like before you travel. Know what it will be like when you estimate returning home. Check your vehicle to make sure it has the safety equipment it needs before you go. Know if chains are required. Check your windshield wipers and your vehicles fluids. Breaking down or sliding off the road will not be a good start to a new year. Also, make sure everyone in your family is dressed appropriately. Put blankets and extra water in your trunk.
Along with the safety tips about driving in the weather, one major driving safety tip is to be alert. Don't drink and drive yourself or ride in a car with anyone who has been drinking. While on the road, keep an eye out for those around you. Take a little extra time before you go through that green light or stop sign. Avoid driving next to anyone who seems to be having a hard time. If you do plan on drinking while out, have a designated driver or know the number for the many public transportation companies that are offering rides on New Year's Eve. Do this before hand. After drinking, things can seem very inconvenient when you just want to go home and sleep it off. Having a plan can make this easier. Be careful and patient at check points. They are there for your safety.
Parties are a gala event on this day of the year. Festive lights and holiday decorations still light up the outside. Inside, warm fires and plenty of good food greet most party-goers. If you are going to an event at a local establishment, know where the exits are. Also, go in groups. There is safety in numbers. Even a female officer can find herself in trouble when outnumbered by drunken partiers. When going to a family-friendly event, designate a meeting place for your family members, especially children, if you get separated. Meet at the place before hand and set a time, for example 10 minutes after separation, you should meet there. If cell phones are available, make sure everyone has one and knows the number of each other's.
Staying home on New Year's Eve can be one of the safety ways to enjoy the holiday. You don't have to be out on the roads or deal with large, drunken crowds. Even so, there are some things you need to consider to keep your home safe for everyone especially if you are hosting a party.
Hosting a safe party
Like most events, pre-planning is necessary to ensure a safe party. A few days before your party check your fire alarms. A good idea is to change the batteries in all of them to ensure they work properly while guests are in your home. Have a basic first aid kit on hand. If drinking is part of your party, you must be especially alert for un-safe practices. When your guests arrive, ask them their plans for returning home. Have a key check-in and be prepared with a few designated drivers or a place in your home they can sleep it off. Of course, the best defense is a good offense. During the party, keep your drinking to a minimum, if at all, and keep an eye out for those who might be having too much. Keep non-alcoholic beverages available. If children are attending, prior to the party make sure your home has been child-proofed. Also, keep tabs on the music level and any offensive language that might disturb your neighbors. Most likely you are not the only one who lives on your street and is trying to enjoy the evening. If you have fireworks, keep water near-by and children away from them. Do not shoot firearms into the air and be aware if this is going on in your neighborhood as midnight approaches. As the host, you need to keep control because you are responsible for the safety of your guests.
If you allow your child to go out on New Year's Eve, the rules need to be clear. Know where they are going and who they will be with. Ask who will be driving. Have a curfew or know if they are staying at a trusted friend's house for the night. If your gut says the situation they are going into isn't safe, trust it and be firm. It's better to have a mad teenager than a dead one.
New Year's may be a very fun event for people, but many pets find it stressful. The crowds and the noise can make the most docile pup frenzied. Put your pet in a safe, quiet place in the house away from the party. Make sure they have plenty of food and water and check on them frequently. Some people think it's funny to give alcohol to an animal and see how they react. Make sure your guests know this will not be tolerated.
Working New Year's Eve can be one of the most exciting nights of the year. People are out with many behaving badly. Many are drunk and parties are everywhere. Driving can be especially perilous. Keep alert. Your family wants to see you in the new year. Firearms are another big problem. For some reason, people like to shoot them into the air not thinking of where the bullets will fall. Determine your department's policy about what to do at midnight. Many request officers park in a safe location, such as a parking garage, for about 10 minutes before and 10 minutes after midnight. Keeping yourself safe on this holiday should be pre-planned and carried through.
New Year's Eve rings in the beginning of a new year. Resolutions are made. Many people are extremely happy. Parties rage and people often make choices through an alcohol fog. Being aware of the dangers and following safety tips can keep your family safe and help bring the new year in safely. I, for one, would like to keep having readers for my columns in 2009, instead of my reading obituaries. Be safe and Happy New Year.