When the Bells Ring! New Year’s Eve Firefighter Safety Tips from Chief Sam

by | December 29, 2017

New Year’s Eve is always a special night—we gather with family and friends, and sometimes hit the town—to ring in the new year. But it’s not all fun and games. Safety is a must when participating in the festivities.

Following are a few safety tips you can relate to that will help you stay safe and sound when the clock strikes midnight and the bells ring!

Designate a Qualified Apparatus Operator: Just like any other night, don’t drink and drive. Take a cab or rideshare service, or arrange to stay overnight at a friend’s house. Have a friend who prefers not to drink? They’re the perfect chauffeur!

Hit the Air Brakes: Better yet, if you don’t have to go behind the wheel—or even get in a car—don’t! More people will be driving under the influence on New Year’s Eve, so avoid the potential for an accident by staying off the roads all together.

Maintain Situational Awareness: Yes, you’re out to have a good time, not to work. But New Year’s Eve is no time to let your guard down. If you’re at a party or a nightclub, there’s an increased potential for fights to break out or a medical emergency to occur. And as we know, some people are looking for opportunities such as big gatherings to commit acts of terror. As a first responder, if something happens, people will be looking to you. Relax and have fun, but stay alert, too.

Use the Buddy System: It’s not quite two-in, two-out, but it’s best to travel in groups and watch out for one another. New Year’s Eve can get a little crazy, but there’s safety in numbers.. • Monitor Your Intake: For many people, New Year’s Eve celebrations involve champagne and other adult drinks. That’s OK—but remember that moderation is key. Keep tabs on how much you and the people you’re with are consuming. Rotate alcoholic drinks with water and remember to take it easy!

Protect Those K-9s: Don’t forget about your pets! While you’re out partying, they might be cowering in fear from fireworks or other loud celebrations. Try to find them a quiet spot and check in on them frequently.

Watch Out for Hot Spots: Earlier this month, a woman and three children were killed in a house fire investigators say was started by an oil-burning menorah. Candles, incense and oil burners are festive. But no decoration is worth your life. Closely monitor any open flames, and remember to extinguish all candles and unplug holiday lights before leaving the room or going to sleep.

Leave Fireworks to the Professionals. Don’t risk starting a fire or hurting someone by messing around with fireworks on New Year’s Eve. You can catch a much better light show in person or on TV—without jeopardizing safety. In the fire service we always say, “Everyone Goes Home.” The same attitude should apply to your New Year’s Celebration. By using some common sense, we can all go home safely. Happy New Year!

SAM DIGIOVANNA is a 35-year fire service veteran. He started with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, served as Fire Chief at the Monrovia Fire Department, and currently serves as Chief at the Verdugo Fire Academy in Glendale. He is also a Senior Consultant for Lexipol’s Cordico wellness solution.

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