The New Year is upon us, and as friends, family and co-workers gather to celebrate the season, American Medical Response is reminding partygoers that safety should remain top of mind. According to staggering data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019, one person was killed every 52 minutes from a drunk-driving crash. In addition to the dangers presented by alcohol and drug use, the United States is still facing rising hospitalizations and infection rates from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We want people to enjoy the holiday season, but we also want to remind them that a sprightly celebration isn’t without risk,” said Jim Pollard, AMR spokesperson. “While people need to make preparations for safe and sober transportation, they also need to consider community spread of COVID-19.”
AMR offers these tips for celebrating safely this New Year’s Eve.
- Schedule a virtual party. In-person gatherings with family or friends from different households pose a big risk. Instead, host a celebratory gathering online.
- Host a household celebration. Rather than inviting guests to your home, invite those in your household to join in on the fun. Dress up in festive clothing and cook a holiday-themed meal together.
- Protect those not eligible for vaccination. Young children and select groups are not eligible for vaccination due to their age or underlying health conditions. Protect friends or family members in these groups by getting vaccinated and using precaution when inviting guests to your home.
- Evaluate the risk. If you or a member of your family are not yet vaccinated, or you have children who are not yet eligible for the vaccine, you should reconsider hosting a gathering. Also, reconsider your plans if you reside in an area currently experiencing a surge in cases, will be traveling to a high-risk community, or have invited guests from a high-risk community.
If you do decide to invite guests to your holiday gathering, AMR recommends taking as many precautions as possible.
- Remember alternative beverages. For guests who may not want to indulge or for designated drivers, remind them to bring their own non-alcoholic beverage options.
- Keep your guests safe. If anyone has overindulged, make sure they have a safe ride home.
- Report drunk drivers. If you suspect someone on the road could be drunk, call 911 immediately.
- Don't let friends drive drunk. If one of your friends has had too much to drink, don't let them get behind the wheel. Take their keys and help to find them a safe ride home.
- Limit the number of attendees. By keeping your guest list small, you allow people to maintain 6 feet of social distance. Also, consider the habits of those you are inviting. Individuals who do not consistently adhere to social distancing guidelines, mask use, handwashing and other preventative behaviors pose a greater risk to you and your family.
The more of these precautions you follow, the safer your holiday celebrations will be. AMR is committed to the health and wellbeing in the communities it serves. Our caregivers promote safety and preparedness to save lives and prevent both injury and disability.
For more information on holiday safety, visit www.NHTSA.gov.