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By Charles Hopkins Published 04/7/2006 | Social Issues

Rarely do people consider party safety as a top of the line priority, yet there are hundreds of party accidents each year that reinforce the need to focus on party safety measures. As a responsible citizen, heres what you can consider the next time you throw a party:

  • Where will the party be held? If outdoors, make sure there are no barns or sheds close by in case of fire. If necessary, restrict access to potentially hazardous areas such as the roof, swimming pool and certain rooms. Protect your personal belongings and property. Keep the event in the specific areas
  • If you are using outdoor lights, do not leave wiring exposed to a carelessly struck match or a smoldering cigarette butt
  • Do not encourage guests to leave smoldering cigarettes near alcohol and other inflammable items
  • Make sure that draperies and curtains are well out of the way of a potential source of fire
  • Make sure someone who is not attending the party knows about it in case of an emergency
  • At all times, keep emergency numbers close to hand so you can take prompt action should the need arise
  • As a teen party safety measure, give other parents the address and telephone number of the venue. Will other adults be home during the party? Do the parents of the guests know there will be a party?
  • How will guests arrive at and leave the party? If there is not enough parking space, make sure your guests dont all bring their cars. Instead, ask them to come in groups. Also, prepare a parking blueprint so that no guest car is towed
  • If the cars are parked outside your house, make sure they have their alarms on
  • Keep your cell phone with you at all times
  • If you feel a guest is drinking too much or spoiling for a fight, consult other guests on how best to minimize the risk of trouble
  • Be sure to set your house rules and make sure everyone knows what they are.
  • Let your neighbors know there will be a party at your house and reassure them that the party will not get out of hand. Ask them to come to you first if there is a problem so you can rectify the situation
  • Encourage invitation only parties. Dont put up with gatecrashers because uninvited guests are often the prime source of trouble. Invite only those guests whom you trust. Be sure they know the party is by invitation only.
  • If you serve alcohol, dont let anyone drive who has been drinking. You are responsible for any accidents that may occur. Ask guests to deposit their car keys with you as they arrive.
  • Limit the number of drinks that you serve. Alcohol is still the principal hitch in developing party safety measures; so do not encourage irresponsible party activities such as drinking contests. Also, if someone appears very drunk at the start of the party, call 911 because he or she may already be well past his or her alcohol tolerance limit or may be on a combination of drinks and drugs
Learn to recognize the signs of alcohol poisoning: unresponsive stupor, shallow breathing (typically, 10 or fewer breaths per minute), slow pulse rate (less than 40 beats per minute) and repeated, random vomiting. NEVER leave a person who displays these symptoms alone and call 911 immediately.