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with ELECTRA WELLENS State Manager GLBTI Liaison
Summer is here and with it arrives the Midsumma Festival. The Carnival Day atmosphere is always excellent and from a policing perspective a wonderful time to get involved in the many events.
The calendar of Midsumma events are now in full swing, there are so many things to do and see and spend time with our friends, family within the LGBTI community. With hot weather about and fire danger high, please take care when travelling to country events, make fire safety awareness apart of your plans by downloading the CFA ‘Fire Ready’ phone app.
We all need to be mindful that alcohol affects a person’s ability to make safe decisions. There are strong links between the harmful use of alcohol and both being a victim of, and perpetrating aggression and violence.
When drinking alcohol on a hot day it can tend to accelerate intoxication and you can start to lose your ability to handle complex problems, are more likely to take risks, are more likely to make bad decisions and lose your ability to react quickly.
I’m sure most of us have been in a situation where someone has consumed too much alcohol, often it’s the sober people who are first to notice. So, if you’re out with someone who has begun to talk loudly, slur their words, or become a little excitable or unstable on their feet, it might be time to step in as a mate.
Some people find it fun to be watching your mates act like idiots after a few drinks, but what happens if things go wrong? A fight starts and someone gets hurt, or someone collapses and you can’t revive them. There comes a time when you’ll need to say: ‘Mate, you’ve had enough’.
Sometimes it can be hard to know what to do, you can see what might be brewing but not sure what to do. Well, you can make a difference. Some situations we act to prevent problems before they start and other times we need to jump in before a sketchy situation gets out of control.
Before your friend reaches for the next drink, get his or her attention and use some of these strategies: Ask them to take a break go for a walk, or sit in a quieter area; take them out to the dance floor (without the drink in hand); take them aside and ask them if they are okay, that your concerned for them; encourage them to leave and grab something to eat with you; grab a water in between drinks or tell them that you will get his or her next drink for them – and make it weak.
Never abandon an intoxicated friend or let them wander away- make sure they get home safely.
In the LGBTI community, we need take pride ourselves on looking out for one another and getting people help when needed. If you feel concerned about a friend’s immediate condition, trust your instincts.
The main thing is to stop trouble before it starts. Don’t’ stand by while your friends go overboard. By being there for your mates you can help make the day out a good one for everyone.
So I would like to remind everyone to take care and plan your outings, including how to get how home, take responsible drinking seriously and look after your mates.