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Greensboro police offer tips for staying safe on New Year’s Eve

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Two nights from now, bars and restaurants across the Triad will be packed with people getting ready to ring in the New Year.

From hitting the bars, to house parties, galas and other events, it seems like there are endless ways to celebrate the new year.

In Greensboro, police officers are ramping up their patrols throughout the city, especially downtown.

But one place they can't patrol all night -- inside your homes.

About half of the people polled plan to stay in Sunday night, according to a poll this year from the event-organizing website Eventbrite.

Going to or hosting a party can be cheaper and less hassle.

"You can stay in and enjoy the part together and still bring in the New Year festively," Greensboro Police Officer A.D. Reed said.

But it isn't necessarily the safer option. Under North Carolina law, the host is responsible for guests drinking at their home.

"You can be liable if that person goes out and does something, because you gave them that alcohol," Reed said.

Police suggest designating a bartender for the night, instead of letting the alcohol flow freely.

"Then the same person is serving them," Reed said.

Be a good host, and a safe one, and provide food, non-alcoholic drinks, and plan activities or games that aren't based just around drinking.

Know the signs when a friend gets too drunk.

"Look at them. If they're your friends and you're around them, pay attention to normal things," Reed said. "Are they slurring their speech? Do you have trouble, are they having trouble holding things down? Are they staggering? Are they not able to speak clearly?"

Greensboro firefighters say it's important to be aware of how many people are at the party.

"Is it reasonable? Are people able to stand on the floor? Places to sit?" said Timothy Henshaw, the Greensboro Fire Marshal.

Henshaw says you should have a plan ahead of time in case there's an emergency.

"If your door has different layouts, make sure everybody knows two ways out, the front door, the back door, before the party gets too crowded," he said.

First responders want you to enjoy the new year as much as possible without putting anyone's safety at risk for one night of fun.

“There's 364 or 365 days to go once that new year starts, and we want them to make it through those," Reed said.

If you're relying on an Uber, Lyft, or taxi to party hop this weekend, prepare for a longer wait.

But police say you shouldn't let that be an excuse to get behind the wheel if you've been drinking.

Plan to order your ride before or after peak times, like at midnight and when the bars close at 2 a.m.