If you’re preparing to sing Auld Lang Syne with friends and family on New Year’s Eve, make sure that your safety plan is in place.
Keep Your Head on a Swivel in Public
Because of COVID, many large gatherings have been reduced in capacity; however, if you venture out, remember to be aware of your surroundings. Crowds can be targeted by criminals and terrorists, so keep your guard up. Know the area and routes to take in an emergency. Don’t travel alone, and keep items such as mobile phones, purses, and electronics out of sight.
Take Responsibility for Your Personal Safety
If you plan to be out drinking or be in a situation where you may have impaired judgment, you will not have your personal defense tools with you, so have someone nearby that you can rely on for your personal safety. Don’t ever set your drink down. If you suddenly don’t trust your date or the people you’re with, then find a waiter or someone who can keep you in a safe location until you’re able to go home.
Plan a Ride in Advance
Before you go out know your options for transportation and decide whether you’ll take public transportation, use a ridesharing service, or carpool with your friends. Driving accidents rise during the holidays, so make sure your loved ones know where you’re going to be and when you’re going to be home. Keep a little extra money with you in case you get stranded and need to take another bus, train, or car. New Year’s Day is a very active holiday for car thefts, so if you have to leave your car overnight make sure it’s locked and try to pick it up as early as possible the next day.
Host a COVID-Free Gathering
Before you socialize, do your due diligence to make sure that your friends and family have been free of COVID symptoms and not recently exposed to someone who has tested positive or is experiencing symptoms. You could also consider a virtual party and gather with your friends and family on Zoom, Facetime, or Houseparty. Play games, play music, and have your midnight toast all from the comfort of your home.
Plan for Guests’ Safety
If you are hosting friends and family at your home, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, computers, phones, keyboards, sinks, toilets, faucets, and countertops. If guests are too impaired to drive, have them eat and drink water or coffee to sober up before they leave. Another option is to let a trusted, sober friend or paid driver get them home. If you have an extra bed or couch, give them a safe place to sleep for the night.
Make a Plan with Your Kids
Set a reasonable curfew with your kids for their New Year’s Eve activities. If they’re old enough to drive, be sure they understand the dangers of driving on the holiday. Encourage them to stay in one location instead of hopping from party to party. Check in with them at different times throughout the evening.
Keep Your Pets Safe
Fireworks and other loud noises may frighten pets, so ask your veterinarian for sedatives if your animal has shown signs of extreme uneasiness in the past. Make sure your fences and gates are secure. Scared, running pets can be hit by cars, cause accidents, and become lost, so keep them inside or in a safe place where they can’t run away in a panic. Make sure your pet has a collar and ID tag, and if possible an updated microchip.