March 24, 2014
PROM NIGHT SAFETY TIPS FROM FCSO
Prom Night is one of the most anticipated nights of the year for teens and one of the most dreaded for parents. Most teens heading off to their prom will tell parents that they know everything there is to know about drinking and driving and all the other hazards that can occur. Yet, every year we witness a number of tragic prom night events which destroy lives and mar what would otherwise be a joyous time. But it doesn’t have to be that way, and following a few basic and common sense safety rules can make all the difference, without stopping anyone from having a good time. Here are some basic safety tips for teens and parents as the big night approaches.
TIPS FOR TEENS
- Whether you like it or not, underage drinking is illegal, even on Prom Night. It can lead to arrest, injury or worse. FCSO will strictly enforce these laws.
- Don’t get into any vehicle where anyone has been drinking, taking drugs or has a weapon.
- Don’t let a friend drive or get into a vehicle where the operator has been drinking.
- Don’t accept drinks from anyone you don’t know. If you leave your drink, discard it and get a new one.
- Know where you are and where you are going at all times and let your parents know of any change in previously agreed upon plans.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable or endangered, leave immediately and call for help.
TIPS FOR PARENTS
- Talk to your teen about the dangers of alcohol and drug use, which include arrest, loss of scholarships, injury, date rape, automobile accidents or worse.
- Discuss guidelines and curfews as well as the consequences for violations.
- Know who is driving your teen to the prom and all who will be passengers in the vehicle.
- Know the location of pre and post-prom parties and who is sponsoring them.
- Remind your teen that you will provide a “no consequence” way for them to get away from a dangerous situation or place if they call you.
- It is against the law to provide or make alcohol available to anyone under the age of 21. FCSO will strictly enforce this law. Violations can result in criminal charges and/or civil liability.
- If hosting a prom related party, make sure a responsible adult is present at all times and stays visible until the party is over.
- Anyone who leaves the party will not be allowed to return.
- When your teen attends a party at some other location, contact the responsible adult ahead of time to verify the place and time, that a responsible adult will always be there and no alcohol or drugs will be permitted.
- Let your teen know that you will be up waiting for them to get home to ensure their safety.
No matter how strong the family relationship, many parents are unaware of the choices their teens face every day. Don’t take for granted that your teen is different. Research consistently shows that parents remain a powerful influence in fostering healthy teen development and preventing negative outcomes.
Prom Night should be a wonderful occasion full of pleasant memories for a life time; not a nightmare of tragedy and suffering. These common sense safety tips will go a long way in determining which memories you will have. FCSO and other local law enforcement agencies will be out in force on Prom Night enforcing the law in an effort to help everyone get home safe and sound.
Captain Michael M. Nunn