By Marcus Fernandez
New Year’s Eve is a when family and friends get together for a celebration. If the celebration is at your home this year, your first priority when planning it must be to ensure the safety of your guests. Whether you are a hosting the year-end festivities for the first time or are a seasoned veteran, your primary concern must be the safety of your guests. You want your guests to have a good time, but you also want to ensure they will be around to enjoy New Year’s Day. Here are a few tips for hosting a safe and responsible New Year’s Eve party.
Check your home for hazards before the guests arrive
Walk around and inspect your home for hazards that could cause someone to be injured. Begin by checking the sidewalks, walkways, and steps leading up to the entryway guests will be using. You want to make certain they are clear of hazards that could cause someone to be injured, including:
- Wires from holiday lights that could cause someone to trip
- Garden tools, hoses, children’s toys and other items that could cause a fall
- Broken cement and loose or missing bricks
- Low-hanging branches over walkways that guests could hit their heads on
Clear away any obstacles you find. Make repairs as needed. If there is not enough time to fix a broken sidewalk, put something that is highly visible at the location to warn guests of the hazard. You should also check that outdoor lights are working to illuminate the sidewalks guests will be using.
If the party is being held inside your home, make certain the floors are clear of anything that could cause someone to be injured. This includes the following common hazards:
- Unsecured rugs and carpets
- Electrical wiring running across the floor
- Children’s toys or other items left where people walk
- Food or liquids falling on the floor
- Loose floor tiles
- Loose or missing handrails on staircases
Be diligent before and during the party to ensure any hazards are removed.
Help your New Year’s Eve Party guests to be responsible drinkers
Alcohol-related highway deaths increase during the holidays by two to three times more than the average for other times of the year. You can keep your guests safe by taking their car keys as they arrive and not returning them to anyone who is drinking during the party. Have the telephone number of a local car service or taxicab company available and use it to arrange rides for guests who have been drinking.
While on the topic of alcohol, it is illegal in Florida to serve alcohol to anyone who is not at least 21 years of age. Social hosts, including someone hosting a New Year’s Eve party, are prohibited from serving alcohol to underage drinkers even if the person serving it is the parent.
The best thing you can do as the host to help your guests who are drinking is to make plenty of food available from the moment guests arrive until the party ends to encourage them to do something other than drink alcohol. You should also have plenty of water and non-alcoholic beverages on hand.
Fireworks are dangerous
Before setting off fireworks as part of your New Year’s Eve festivities, you might want to speak to a lawyer. The general rule is that bottle rockets, firecrackers and other fireworks that are launched skyward or explode are illegal to use in Florida.
Fireworks are responsible for burns, loss of fingers and limbs, and death each year in accidents across the country. As a homeowner hosting the party where fireworks are used, you could be legally responsible if someone is injured.
Be a responsible New Year’s Eve party host
All of the planning and preparations are worth it if you and your guests have a good time this New Year’s Eve. Just remember, a party is not successful unless all the guests get home safely.