Firefighters from County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service will be out and about in the lead up to Christmas encouraging members of the public to take greater care especially when drinking alcohol over the festive season. The firefighters who will be targeting party-goers are not against people enjoying themselves but hope to encourage people to drink sensibly and at the Government’s recommended limits.
Fire crews based at Durham Fire Station will be on hand in Millennium Place in Durham City to advise of the dangers excessive alcohol consumption. During the celebrations people can easily become distracted and less aware of potential dangers within the home. They will be advising people not to ‘Drink and Fry’. Crew Manager John Cuerden, of Green Watch at Durham Fire Station stated “The majority of fires in the home start in the kitchen, so the best thing to do if you do feel hungry after a night out is to order a takeaway”.
Leaflets and posters with important festive safety advice are being distributed throughout County Durham and Darlington. The Service is reminding everyone that some of their favourite festive traditions, such as cooking, decorating the home and drinking alcohol, could potentially leave their celebrations in ruins.
Drinking too much can have short term health impacts including anxiety, impotence and hangovers. It can lead to loss of consciousness and even fatal poisoning. Increased alcohol consumption also leads to poor decision making and risk taking behaviour.
Research shows that a third of drinkers in the region have experienced a risky situation as a result of drinking too much and one third of investigated fires involve alcohol and of these almost half involve alcohol and smoking.
The firefighters will also be giving advice about how to ensure drivers do not drink and drive. There is no foolproof way of drinking and staying under the legal limit for driving. The amount of alcohol you would need to drink to be considered drink driving varies from person to person.
To help party-goers remember the advice given, fire-fighters will be giving out free ‘ICE’ cards. ICE simply stands for In Case of Emergency; on one side of the credit card sized cards is a writable strip where the phone number is to be written of someone that the emergency services can contact if the need should arise. This may be the telephone number of a husband, wife, partner, sister, brother, parent or guardian. While on the reverse of the card is a guide to the amount of alcohol per unit in any given measures of the most popular festive drinks. The credit card sized cards can then be kept secure in a purse or wallet.
John added “excessive alcohol consumption is a real problem and it is our aim to encourage people in County Durham and Darlington to reduce how much alcohol they drink so not only can they live healthier lives but they do so more safely as well”.