How to Stay Safe in Nightclubs

With the majority of covid-19 restrictions lifted, the nightclubs of Britain have been able to reopen, much to the delight of young people around the country. While its fantastic news that the country is returning to normal, going back into nightclubs has its risks, and not just because of coronavirus.

 

Drink Spiking

This is unfortunately a practice that targets mostly women. Someone can spike your drink to make you more vulnerable, this could be done as a practical joke, but sometimes the intentions are a lot more sinister, sexual assault for example. Drink spiking is often not reported, so it’s difficult to know the true extent of these events. People often feel too embarrassed to tell anyone if they think their drink has been spiked as it can cause memory loss. Not remembering parts of the night can make it difficult to recall events with any certainty. It can be a very frightening experience and it’s important that you learn to recognise the signs that your drink has been spiked. It’s equally as important that you know how to spot if someone else has been spiked and how to help them.

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What are Drinks Spiked With?

Although you have mostly heard about drinks being spiked with drugs such as Rohypnol, the NHS says that alcohol is actually the most common thing to be used in drink spiking. Shots of alcohol can be added to drinks to make them stronger; this would cause the victim to get drunker more quickly or unexpectedly.

The most commonly known drugs that are used to spike drinks are Rohypnol (roofies) or Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB), these are known as ‘date rape’ drugs. This is because they can sedate or incapacitate victims, so they are easier to assault.

It’s extremely important to know that these ‘date rape drugs’ are mostly colourless, odourless and tasteless, so are very hard to notice. They also leave the body very quickly, which makes them hard to detect on blood or any other medical tests.

 

Symptoms of Drink Spiking

It’s important to know what the symptoms of drink spiking are. They can vary depending on what the drink has been spiked with. Symptoms can include;

  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Loss of balance
  • Visual problems
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Unconsciousness

Outside factors will affect what symptoms you experience when you’ve had your drink spike; what you’ve been drinking, your size and weight and how much you’ve drank will all cause variations in your symptoms. If your drink has been spiked then you are unlikely to notice seeing as there will be no difference in the taste or colour of your drink. Most date rape drugs will take 15-20 minutes to take effect and the symptoms can last for hours. If you suspect your drink has been spiked and are feeling any symptoms, then get help straight away.

 

Drink Spiking Statistics 2015 – 2019

England and Wales

2,650 reported incidents of drink spiking.

71.6% of victims were women.

75% of victims were between the ages of 18 and 40.

10% of victims were under the age of 18.

15% of victims were over the age of 40.

 

Scotland

137 reported incidents of drink spiking.

81.8% of victims were women.

78% of victims were between the ages of 18 and 40.

There were 2 alleged victims aged under 9.

 

Northern Ireland

53 reported incidents in of drink spiking.

67.9% of victims were women.

82% of victims were between the ages of 18 and 40.

There were 2 victims aged under 18.

 

What to Do if You Think a Friend Has Been Spiked

If your friend is showing any of the symptoms of having their drinks spiked, then there are some things you can do to help. It’s important to tell the bar or club manager or a member of staff such as the bouncer. They should be able to help you get your friend to a safe spot.

Don’t leave your friend alone, if they have been spiked for the purpose of assault, then it’s important they are not on their own at any time. If their condition continues to get worse then you need to call an ambulance, it’s better to be safe than sorry in these situations, so have them seen by a medical professional to make sure everything is ok. It might seems obvious but don’t let them drink any more alcohol, as this can make the symptoms worse.

 

Avoiding Drink Spiking

Drink spiking is NEVER the victim’s fault and whilst you should always look to just have fun when you go out, considering your safety will only help to keep your night a good one. Whilst some Nightclubs have started giving out drink stoppers for the top of bottles to prevent someone being able to drop something into your drink, there are a few things that you can be aware of to avoid getting your drink spiked.

 

How to Avoid Drink Spiking

1.      Always go to the bar with a friend

Two eyes are better than one and when you’re on your own it’s easy to get distracted and unfortunately it only takes a couple of seconds for someone to drop something into your drink. Having a friend with you acts as a guard when you might be reaching over to pay and not thinking about your drink.

 

2.      Cover your drinks

Obviously easier to do if you’re drinking from the bottle than a glass but where you can make sure that your drink is covered. This can be as simple as keeping your thumb over the top of the bottle or holding a glass from the top rather than the side.

 

3.      Don’t accept drinks from strangers

This might seem obvious, but it is still important to consider when out and about. You should always look to purchase your own drink or if you do accept a drink from someone else, make sure it is from someone you trust and that you have watched the bartender make it.

 

4.      Never leave your drink unattended

Once again, seems like pretty obvious advice but even leaving your drinks with friends on a table can be a bit dangerous. People can easily get distracted and might not always be paying attention to your drink.

We suggest finishing your drink before heading to the toilets or the smoking area, or if you do leave your drink just buy a new one once you come back. Obviously apply caution with this and don’t down a full drink.

 

5.      Keep an eye on your drink for changes

Whether it has moved, is now missing the straw has turned a funny colour it wasn’t before or is frizzing, don’t risk taking a sip. Although you don’t want to be paranoid, it is always better to be safe than sorry and it can only take a moment for someone to drop something in your drink.

You can also find testing kits with strips that can detect certain drugs, but these are often unreliable and don’t always work. They also don’t test for every kind of drug and won’t detect any extra alcohol in your drink.

 

References:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51021314

Sea Swimming Safety 2021

As the weather warms up (hopefully) and the days get longer the pull to go swimming at the beach and in lakes become stronger. Swimming is a great way to relax, cool down and exercise but we all know it comes with some dangers that we may face, swimming in open waters poses a higher threat so ensure you’re clued up before taking the plunge with our top tips below!

 

Plan Ahead Before Arriving

Planning ahead before going swimming is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your safety. The top three things to do before arriving at your destination are:

  • Check the weather and tide timetable

Of course you know it is dangerous to swim during a storm due to higher winds and waves but ensure there are no predicted high winds before you leave and make a note of the tide changes so you don’t get caught stranded.

 

  • Swim at a lifeguarded beach.

A lifeguard is able to help in an emergency and can spot when the sea becomes too dangerous to swim in and so will alert all those to get out of the water. If you’ve not been to this destination before you can always chat to the lifeguard about where to swim, especially if you plan on doing water sports such as surfing or SUP. Please remember even if there is a lifeguard manning the beach you are still responsible for your own safety when swimming in open waters.

 

  • Swim with others.

Make arrangements to swim with others so two or more of you can assess the situation, if you do find yourself in an emergency hopefully one of you will be able to call for help. If you’re going alone, find an area with other swimmers in.

 

Arriving at your Destination

Planning ahead is the first step to swimming in the sea safely but you should always reassess when you get to your chosen location, things to look out for are:

1. Observe the water and the waves

Watch the water for a little while, is it behaving as you’d expect or are the waves higher than you’d like? Are they breaking apart? Are there any rip currents? Read further on for information on how to spot a rip current.

 

2. Beach surface

The surface of the beach can affect the waves and how you enter and exit the water safely, is it a sandy, pebbled, rocky, muddy beach?

 

3.Look out for rocks.

Are there any rocks or obstructions in the sea that could cause you harm? Could you be thrown against them if the tides change? Could they cause you to cut and bruise yourself? Is anyone behaving dangerously near the rocks or obstructions such as jumping into shallow waters?

 

4. Is the tide behaving as expected?

 

5. Are there any danger areas along the beach that could cause you to get stuck in the sea or stranded on an island?

 

 6. Are there boats in the water?

 

7. Are there surfers or other water sports happening in the water nearby that could potentially be of harm?

 

Entering and Exiting the Water

One last sea check before you take the plunge. Plan your entry and exit routes, especially if you plan on swimming a long distance. Look out for the following:

1. Look out for any currents, tidal flow and which way the wind is going.

2. Look out for any hazards you may encounter along the stretch of beach and water you plan to swim in by walking up and down your route.

3. Plan your exit so that you can get out of the water easily, no rocks, less seaweed and no slippery silt or mud is preferable.

4. Never jump into cold water to prevent cold water shock. Slowly submerge yourself in so your body has time to acclimatise.

 

What to Wear in the Sea

What you wear in the sea can also affect your swimming capabilities and help protect you if in danger.

Wetsuit

We all know how cold the sea is even in the summer months in the UK so if you plan on swimming in the sea often investing in a wetsuit is a must. It will also help you swim faster which is great if you find yourself in trouble.

Silicone Hat

A brightly coloured silicone hat will not only keep your head warm but it will make you easier to spot in the water if you need help.

Goggles

Avoid salt water in your eyes with a good pair of goggles. Consider mirrored lens goggles to help you see on a bright sunny day.

Tow Buoy

A tow buoy is a brightly coloured, light float which helps others keep track of you in the water such as lifeguards or boaters. You can also use the buoy to take a quick rest on should you need to.

Swim Socks and Gloves

Keep your hands and feet warm by donning a pair of swim gloves and socks, the last thing you want is numb fingers and toes.

Keeping Children Safe when Sea Swimming

A day at the seaside is great day out for all the family but the water can be fear inducing when your children are near, here are some top tips on keeping your children safe at the beach:

Inflatable’s

Keep your rubber rings and dinghy’s for the pool, unpredictable winds can float them out to sea and put your children in danger.

Supervise in the Water

Even the best little swimmers can get caught out in the waves and tides, never let your children in the sea without keeping a close eye on them. Always be close enough to grab them as a wave can pull them under at any moment.

Lifeguard

Chose a lifeguarded beach and when you arrive visit the lifeguard hut and ask for a safety wristband. There is a space for you to write your telephone number on and teach your children to go to the lifeguard hut if they get lost. The lifeguards will look after them and give you a call if they are lost.

 

Waves

As well as tides there are several waves that you need to be aware of for your safety when sea swimming, they include:

Spilling Waves

Found on flat or a slightly sloped beach, the wave tumbles down the front of the wave and is good for swimmers.

Plunging/Dumping Waves

These occur on steep beaches and suddenly break with power, enough to knock you off your feet. We’d avoid swimming here.

Surging Waves

Found on steep and rocky beaches, they may not break but instead will have a strong backwash and undertow which will carry you off out and under the sea. Avoid swimming here.

 

Rip Currents

Finally, we’re on to rip currents. These occur when there is a buildup of water from tides and waves, they can take you out to sea scarily fast. To identify a rip current look out for the following:

  • Debris on water surface, floating away from the beach.
  • Sea debris, seaweed and sand churning.
  • Lack of waves, they may break either side of the rip current or you may not see any at all.

If you get stuck in a rip current it is important to remain calm, don’t fight the current and swim along the shoreline until out of the current. Once you have escaped the rip current you will be able to swim directly back to shore.

 

Keytek® Locksmiths

We hope you’ve found our blog informative to keep you safe when swimming. If you liked this one why not check out some of our others including Staying Safe this Summer: 2021! and Luggage Locks – The Guide to Luggage Security.

 

 

Swimming safely in the sea