DURING the year there are many concerts, festivals, and parties held across the country. While attending these events, Hillcrest SAPS communications officer Captain Linzi Smith advised the public to always put safety first.
“Whilst it may seem like common sense, ensure all doors and windows are securely locked whenever you go out.
“Remember that you don’t have to use alcohol or other drugs to have fun,” she said. If you are going to indulge in alcohol, Smith advises that you know your limit and always make sure you have eaten beforehand, saying: “Never drink on an empty stomach, always keep your eye on your drinks, and the same goes for your belongings — don’t leave items unattended and don’t keep your phone, wallet or money in your back pocket.”
Smith said that there is never a reason to drink too much and the best way to avoid drug-related problems is not to use at all. “Trust your own judgement, keep your wits about you and stay close to friends you trust,” Smith said.
National Marketing and Communications Manager at Fidelity ADT Charnel Hattingh offered easy safety tips for youngsters to follow if ever they are going to be celebrating away from home in a possibly unfamiliar area.
• Before leaving your accommodation for the day or night, ensure that anything valuable is locked away in a drawer or safe.
• Never carry large amounts of cash or go out wearing flashy or expensive jewellery.
• If your accommodation is a holiday house or apartment, make sure all the doors are locked, the windows are properly shut and that the alarm is activated if a system is installed.
• When out at different events and activities, be aware of your surroundings and arrange with your friends to keep an eye on each other and your belongings.
• If you are approached by a suspicious individual; walk away and report it to the closest security or to the police
• Do not accept drinks from strangers and do not leave your drinks unattended. Spiking of drinks is still rife.
When it is time to return to your accommodation after a night out
• Never leave without your friends.
• Do not accept a lift from a stranger; rather use transport provided by the event organisers.
• Driving after a few drinks is never an option. Call a cab or use event shuttles if they are available instead.
• Consider appointing a designated driver or someone who agrees not to drink and who will be responsible for getting everyone home safely.
Hattingh encouraged parents to please speak to their children and share these tips with them. “Let’s encourage them to do it as responsibly as possible. It may also be worth speaking to your security provider about personal safety apps that are available as well as services such as ‘meet and greets’ to ensure peace of mind,” she said.
In conclusion, Smith advised that youngsters should maintain an honest relationship with their parents, and the parents an open door policy with their children, where each party knows they can always go to them with concerns and questions without judgement or fear of being criticised or punished.
“At the end of the day it boils down to being responsible and using common sense,” concluded the captain.