New Year’s Eve celebrations all over the world are generally fun and loud. However, they can also be dangerous. Most revellers welcome the new year with lots of alcohol and firecrackers. That’s a deadly combination if you ask me. It even gets murkier once you start reading up on disasters that happened during the last day of a year. Aside from the people who lost a digit or limb because of firecrackers, there are those who are hurt or worse killed by stray bullets. Then there are other incidents of violence against and among revellers. All these make me want to rethink how to go about this year’s celebration. In fact, I’m thinking of what to do to stay safe during New Year’s Eve festivities.
While people were out on the streets welcoming the new year in 2019, a young man deliberately drove his car through the crowd injuring nine. On December 31, 2014, 36 people died when a stampede occurred near Chen Yi Square in Shanghai, China. A crowd of around 300,000 was there to celebrate the New Year’s Eve when people started panicking.
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Avoid Fireworks As Much As Possible
Fireworks have become synonymous with New Year’s Eve celebrations since ancient Chinese invented them in the seventh century A.D. initially to ward off evil spirits. While pyrotechnics are indeed pretty to look at in the night sky, some fireworks can be deadly.
To stay safe during New Year’s Eve festivities, it’s best to avoid firecrackers completely. The exploding kinds are like mini bombs that can still hurt. In fact, 5 people died and around 9,100 were injured by firecrackers in 2018, as reported by Live Science. Most of these cases occurred during the month surrounding Fourth of July.
Be particularly wary of the children. Don’t let them use firecrackers. Even sparklers are dangerous. The Children’s National Medical Center said that 44% of all firecracker-related injuries were burns. Sparklers can get as hot as 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). That’s definitely hot enough to hurt young children. As a matter of fact, half of the injuries for children under 5 years old were caused by sparklers.
Buy the Right Kinds of Fireworks
If you really must have fireworks, at least choose the right ones. Check with local laws first if it’s legal to purchase and use fireworks. If you get the go-signal, make sure to avoid professional-grade ones. These items are meant for professional fireworks display. You’re not a professional so you really shouldn’t be firing them from your backyard. Avoid firecrackers, as well.
Still, having no fireworks is the best way to stay safe during New Year’s Eve festivities. You can always just look up and enjoy the show. Let other people spend their money on fireworks while you share in their enjoyment by watching safely from your property. Use your hard-earned money on more important things such as making your home fireproof.
Don’t Be Stupid
Alcohol can make you do stupid things. We all know that. Some people, however, love to dare each other for some laughs even if there’s no alcohol involved.
Take the case of an 18-year-old Iowa man who thought launching mortar shells fireworks from a tube taped to his helmet was fun. One of the shells got stuck and exploded on top of his head. He unfortunately died in the hospital the following day.
With all due respect to those who died from such horrible accidents and their families, please don’t do such stupid stunts. Just don’t.
Get Your First Aid Kit Ready
No matter how careful you are, accidents may happen. The risks are particularly high with all the alcohol and fireworks involved.
Keep your first aid kit handy and make sure you have the items needed for treating burns. Ideally, you should run first and second degree burns under cold water for 15 to 30 minutes. If you don’t have access to cold water, don’t use an ice pack or ice water. These will make things worse.
A better option is a cold compress like the ACE Reusable Cold Compress. It will draw the heat out of the wound and allow it to heal faster.
You need your hands to be clean before you can start treating a burn victim. If you’re at home when the accident happens, it’s easy to wash your hands. In case, you don’t have access to soap and water, use alcohol. Another option is to wear nitrate gloves before touching the injury.
Use cotton swabs to clean the wound of dirt and other debris. Cotton balls are a huge no-no. They usually leave strands on the wound.
Aloe vera gel helps treat first degree burns with blisters that haven’t broken yet. After running the burn under cold water and cleaning the wound, apply Aloe vera gel to help it heal faster.
If the blisters have broken already, apply antibacterial or antibiotic ointment instead. This will help prevent the wound from getting infected.
Cover the wound with non-stick bandage after applying the ointment such as the Medline Curad Sterile Non-Adherent Pad. This will also keep it from getting infected.
Cling wrap is sterile, readily available (if you keep some in the kitchen), and won’t stick to wounds. Use it to cover the burn after cleaning it. Some people prefer using it over sterile gauze. Aside from the reasons above, you can also see the wound clearly allowing you to monitor the wound without having to remove the cover.
You probably need cling wrap for all your leftover food from all the holiday feasts. Might as well stock up on them in case you need one for tasks other than keeping food.
A burn is severe if it covers about 10% of the victim’s body. Take the victim to the hospital or burn center immediately.
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Prepare for Possibility of Fire
I know everyone’s been quite preoccupied these past few weeks preparing for the holiday season. That’s not an excuse though when it comes to your family’s safety. Aside from making sure they don’t get hurt from the fireworks, you also need to keep your home safe from fire.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), ten percent of fires caused by fireworks occur from December 30 through January 3. There’s also an average of 160 fires caused by Christmas trees each year from 2013 to 2017. Most of these Christmas tree fires were caused by malfunctioning lights and a candle or other heat source placed too near the tree. Most households still have their Christmas trees up when the new year comes along so that’s another fire risk.
Get Rid of Flammable Materials
To stay safe during New Year’s Eve festivities, you must take the necessary precautions to make your home fireproof. Start off by cleaning up your home. Clean your yard of dried leaves, old newspapers, and other flammable stuff. Do the same inside your home. Keep the flammable materials away from open windows.
Make An Evacuation Plan
Fire is obviously another thing to be wary of aside from direct contact with exploding firecrackers. You should have an emergency plan in case your home catches because of firecrackers or misfiring pyrotechnics.
If your home has a second floor, there should be a fire exit. Invest on a fire ladder that you can use in case you can’t reach the stairs. The Kidde 468093 KL-2S Two-Story Fire Escape Ladder is easy to use, which is important in life-and-death situations. All you have to do is attach the top end to the window and pull the release strap to unfurl the ladder.
The fire escape ladder in the video measures 13 feet but it also comes in a 25-foot version. It’s flame-resistant and strong enough to carry up to 1,000 pounds. It also has anti-slip rungs for additional safety.
Purchase Fire Extinguishers
Invest on fire extinguishers and check them regularly. Ideally, you should have more than one in your home so you’re better equipped to fight fire.
Most fire extinguishers have red and green sections in the pressure gauge. You can do a quick inspection just by checking if the needle in the gauge is in the green section.
If you don’t have a fire extinguisher yet or you’re planning to get another one, a good choice would be the First Alert 1038789 Standard Home Fire Extinguisher. The U.S. Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher is made of durable metal. This includes the valve, trigger, pull pin, and gauge.
Aside from fire extinguishers, you can also invest on fire suppressants like the Fire Gone 2NBFG2704 White/Red Fire Suppressant Canisters. These are useful against fires caused by common combustibles (Class A) such as wood, paper, and cloth, flammable liquids and gases (Class B), and live electrical equipment (Class C).
checking your fire extinguishers. Ideally, you should have more than one in your home so you’re better equipped to fight fire.
Keep Water Nearby
Before lighting up your fireworks, make sure you have the necessary items you need in case something goes wrong. We’re not being pessimistic here. Just trying to be prepared for whatever happens. Remember, it’s better to be prepared than be full of regrets.
One way to prepare is to have water on hand. If there is a faucet outside, attach your water hose so it’s ready to go when you need it. You can also fill a huge container with water and have pails on standby. If you don’t have one, just fill up your pails or buckets and keep them nearby.
Hosting A Safe New Year’s Eve Party
If you decide to just stay in and celebrate the coming new year in a more peaceful and intimate manner, the need to keep your home safe gets a notch higher. Aside from keeping your home fireproof, you should also make it safe for your guests.
Avoid or At Least Limit the Alcohol Being Served
You don’t want any of your guests to get in an accident after leaving your party. There are places in the country where the host can be held liable if a guest driving home from the party gets in an accident and causes damage.
If you’re serving alcohol, give them something not too heavy such as white wine and light beer. You don’t want any of your guests to get too drunk. Also, stop serving alcoholic drinks before you call it a night. Give your guests a couple of hours or so to get their bearings before they go home. Ask if any of them wants water, juice or something that will help lessen the buzz.
Make sure everybody gets something to eat before they start drinking. You also need to serve non-alcoholic drinks, especially water. They need to drink water in between alcoholic drinks to stay hydrated and lessen their hangover the next day.
Get Everything You Need
If you’re planning a real party with loud music and alcohol, make sure you have everything you’ll need. It’s quite difficult and unsafe to leave and go on a run in the midst of all the street partying, drinking, and fireworks being lighted up. It’s not really that safe to go out during this time. Days prior to your New Year’s Eve party, get everything you’ll need.
Limit the Number of Guests
Things can easily get out of hand if there are too many people in one place. Invite only the people you really want to spend New Year’s Eve with. The fewer the people, the less you’re responsible of.
Don’t Let Drunk Guests Drive Home
Even before the party starts, ask your guests to designate a driver. That person will be responsible for taking the others home safely so that means he or she shouldn’t drink alcohol. This is ideal but for a group of alcohol-loving people, it may be quite difficult to choose one.
Other options include calling a cab for them, letting them stay in your place until their ready, or to drive them home yourself.
Other Tips to Stay Safe During New Year’s Eve Festivities
When you’re celebrating outdoors with a huge crowd, you need to be wary of thieves, pickpockets, violent people, and the possibility of a stampede, among other horrible scenarios. Bring your everyday carry kit so you’re prepared for whatever that may happen.
Don’t forget about your pets. Animals get scared from all the loud noise. When they get scared, they usually get confused and scamper away trying to find a safe place. This is why a number of pets get lost during these times.
Secure your pet in a part of your home where there is the least noise. This will also keep them from consuming alcohol. Make sure your pets are safe from your guests if you’re having a New Year’s Eve party at home. As we said before, alcohol makes you do dumb things. This includes doing evil things to animals.
Check up on your pet every now and then. Give it food and water or even a toy to keep their minds off the ruckus. Make sure to comfort them as well as these are trying times for our four-legged friends.
There are lots of other things you should keep in mind as we welcome the new year. This list is quite short, come to think of it. There’s still time to prepare, though, so read up on more tips to stay safe during New Year’s Eve festivities and apply them all. Follow Gentleman Pirate Club to learn more about such safety tips. Have a fun and safe celebration everyone!