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Party Safety

Being a host or organizer is an awesome responsibility. In addition to having fun, you can be a successful host by being aware of potential hazards and taking precautions to minimize your risk level.

For more information, visit the City of Columbia Police Department website.

Here Are Some Helpful Suggestions to Get You Started

  • Before the event, develop a clean-up plan. Keep your house and property well maintained. Delegate cleanup responsibilities to specific individuals after an event.
  • Develop a guest parking plan so cars are not towed or cited.
  • Establish an emergency contact list with the numbers of designated “neighborhood contact” individuals as well as specified attendees. Make sure they keep their cell phones with them at all times with the loud ringer and vibrate setting on so that they can be reached if needed.
  • Check everyone’s identification and create a designation for those over 21 attending a function where alcohol will be served.

Consider Hiring Professional Security Staff to Assist With

  • Overseeing the function
  • Managing uninvited guests
  • Collecting car keys, calling taxis, or calling STRIPES at (573) 442-9672 for people who need rides
  • Checking the identification of invited guests

Never Promote or Sponsor a Function Where You/Your Organization may be Interpreted as Selling Alcohol Without a License

  • Do not sell drink tickets
  • Do not sell empty cups
  • Do not charge for “all you can drink”
  • Do not host an event in conjunction with a local bar or alcohol distributor
  • It is unlawful for any person to sell alcohol, in any quantity, without acquiring a liquor license. If you sell alcohol at or charge admission to a party, the person accepting the money could be charged with selling liquor without a license. Sentences for this violation involve up to two years in prison and/or fines of up to $1,000. If the alcohol is served to a minor, the server could also be charged with supplying alcohol to a minor. This also includes the selling of cups or wristbands intended for alcohol consumption.

Keg Registration

  • All retailers selling beer kegs must register the keg and affix a seal on the keg at the time of sale. The retailer will log the purchaser’s name, address, and the acknowledgement of proper use and care of the keg. If a keg is confiscated by police at a party at which underage persons have consumed alcohol, the purchaser of the keg can be identified-and arrested or fined-for supplying alcohol to underage persons. If a keg is returned with an ID tag defaced or missing, the deposit fee required at the time of sale is forfeited.

Other Tips

  • Serve non-alcoholic beverages (we have provided some recipes for you on the OCSS website) and provide food (again, refer to this website for suggestions) for guests.
  • Do not promote alcohol as the center of the event or encourage guests to engage in drinking games.
  • Serve alcohol in closed containers instead of large open “punch bowls,” so it is more difficult for someone to slip a drug into the container.
  • If you notice someone appearing very drunk early on, call 911, as s/he may have been slipped a predatory drug (e.g., roofie, GHB).
  • Limit the number of drinks your guests are drinking: alcohol is still the #1 date rape drug.
  • Avoid glass bottles. Don’t risk someone getting cut by broken glass, and make your clean up easier.
  • Provide transportation or taxis for guests who have been drinking. Take care of your guests. Call STRIPES, the FREE safe rides program for MU students. Students must have a student I.D. with you to receive a ride from STRIPES.
  • Prevent access to swimming pools and close bedrooms to guests. Protect your personal belongings and property. Keep the event in the specific areas.
  • Remember, over-indulgence of alcohol or any drug can lead to risky situations (read our information about serving alcohol and the signs of alcohol poisoning).
  • Establish a time limit for the event with a set end time. Four hours is a good estimate.
  • Avoid drinking and driving.
  • Close all access to your roof. Eliminate the risk of someone falling.

*This section above is a modified excerpt from The True Gentleman Initiative “Steps for Responsible Social Planning” handout. The information above was taken from UC Davis’s website on the Smart Party Initiative.

Tips for Party Guests

  • Avoid any party that you haven’t specifically been invited to.
  • Even with the best of intentions by hosts and guest alike, an “open house” kegger is a high-risk situation. If you decide to ignore this advice, here are some suggestions to reduce the chances you’ll be hurt, arrested, or wildly embarrassed.

Protect Your Health and Safety

  • Obey laws.
  • If you’re over 21 and choose to drink alcoholic beverages, keep your consumption moderate. (0 drinks if you’re driving, or if you are not the driver and do choose to drink, 1 per hour sets the pace, no more than 3 per day.)
  • If you’re drinking, also eat food.
  • Attend with a friend and look out for each other.
  • Leave your valuables at home. Carry only the ID and money you’ll need that night.
  • If you choose to be sexually active, bring and use condoms and other latex barriers.
  • Stay off all roofs and any balcony that is crowded.
  • Don’t play with fire.
  • Don’t argue with cops.
  • Remember drugs and alcohol don’t mix- even over-the-counter and prescription drugs can be very dangerous when combined with alcohol.