By Bill Fortune
Are you ready to ring in the new year? For some of us it means having some friends over to watch the ball drop and for others it means going out to join the crowds. In either case the Red Cross recommends that you party responsibly and remember, "Friends don't let friends drive drunk!" Besides, nobody wants to start a new year with a DUI, car accident or a trip to the emergency room.
Our partners at AAA offer this link AAA Sober Ride so you can get a free ride home almost anywhere in the country.
Here are some tips that just might help you out.
1. Have a designated driver or just don't drink and drive. Ask someone for a ride, or use Uber. See the AAA link above.
2. Try to avoid being on the road between the hours of 8pm - 2am. Auto accidents due to alcohol consumption are the highest during that time.
3. Monitor your alcohol intake. If you are drinking, make sure to stay hydrated with water and that you have enough to eat.
4. Take the keys if you have a friend who is too drunk to get behind the wheel. Help your friend with a ride home.
5. Watch out for intoxicated pedestrians or bicyclists.
6. Be careful with what you're sharing on social media. You might be embarrassed when you look at it later and you could put yourself at risk. If "they" know where you are you are vulnerable!
7. Ask guests to turn their keys in and put them in a secure place if you're hosting a party.
8. Make sure your guests have a designated driver or a way to take them home from your party.
9. Offer two types of drinks and drinking cups at your party - one for adult beverages and the other for non-alcoholic beverages. This will keep the alcohol away from children.
10. Do not serve minors alcohol.
11. You've heard of the saying, "It's all fun and games until somebody loses an eye." Be aware of anyone who brings dangerous fireworks at your home or at a party that you are attending. A homeowner can be held criminally and civilly liable for any damage done by safe or unsafe fireworks.
12. You'll hear about it -- someone shooting guns into the air. Firing weapons in the air is a violation of the law.
13. Keep your pets inside or away from fireworks and other loud noises.
14. Check your fence, gate latches and pet area before New Year's Eve to ensure your pets can't get out.
15. Make sure pets have a collar with a tag with your information.
16. Be careful with matches, open flames and fireworks. Home fires increase when people are careless.
17. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged so you can call for help if needed.
18. Dressing stylishly may be glamorous but dressing for the weather, especially the wind chill, is safer. Here is a link to safety information from the National Weather Service
19. Down load the free Red Cross First Aid app. It can help you help others in an emergency. Visit redcross.org/apps to download or get it from your favorite app provider.
Here's hoping that you have a safe, happy and prosperous new year!