15:01 Thursday 26 December 2013

Alcohol warning for party-goers

Written byJOANNA CRAIG

AMBULANCE staff are appealing to festive revellers to follow their words of advice to ensure this New Year is a safe one.

Staff from the West Midlands Ambulance Service are gearing up for one of the busiest nights of the year and are advising festive drinkers to ‘go steady or go home’.

While thousands of people across the West Midlands will be welcoming the New Year with friends and family, ambulance services across the country will be working harder than ever to deal with the expected increase in alcohol-related 999 calls associated with the festive period.

Daren Fradgley, assistant chief ambulance officer, said: “We hope that everyone out celebrating has a great time, but, on a more serious note we’re asking people to drink responsibly so that you don’t end your night being treated by us.

“Sadly, as is always the case at this time of year, we’re expecting to see an increase in 999 calls to people who have drunk far too much alcohol.

“Typically our crews respond to cases of people who have slipped over and hurt themselves or been injured after alcohol-fuelled misunderstandings turn to violence.

“We have also had cases where people have gone to sleep outside on their way home and suffered from exposure and even hypothermia when it’s cold.”

Mr Fradgeley told the Post and Times of the tips the ambulance service would urge party-goers to take note of this New Year.

He said: “There are some common sense steps you can take to have a safe night out.

“Eat a filling meal before going out, pace yourself and drink water regularly.

“Avoid being a victim of spiking by avoiding leaving your drink unattended.

“Have a plan on how you are getting home.

“Book private hire cars in advance or, alternatively, only use Hackney Carriages.

“Finally, look after your friends and keep in contact with them if you split up to ensure you all stay safe.”

Drink Aware, the independent UK alcohol awareness charity is running an ongoing campaign to banish the myths on how to look after someone who has had ‘a few too many’.

A spokesman for the charity said: “Acute alcohol poisoning can be extremely dangerous.

“There are so many myths around about how to deal with people who’ve drunk to excess, so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re aware of what not to do.

“Never leave someone to sleep it off. The amount of alcohol in someone’s blood continues to rise even when they’re not drinking because alcohol in the digestive system carries on being absorbed into the bloodstream.

“Never give them a coffee. Alcohol dehydrates the body. Coffee will make someone who is already dehydrated even more so.

“Never try to make them sick, as they could choke.

“Never put them under a cold shower, this could lead to hypothermia as alcohol lowers the body temperature.

“You should try to keep them awake and sitting up, give them some water, put them in the recovery position and keep them warm.

“If they’re not getting better, don’t delay calling 999 for an ambulance.”

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