In Response to Student Safety

Ryan Irons

A few weeks ago, an article was written on an incident that involved an intoxicated non-UNH student downtown. While some may not know what to do in this situation, this article will cover some key points to remember when encountering a situation, especially off campus, and one that involves alcohol.

First off, a quick public safety background on me; I am from Providence, R.I., and I currently work at the Providence Place Mall as a Public Safety Officer and Dispatcher. I’ve interned with my local police department on Patrol for over three years. I’ve been a volunteer with the Providence Emergency Management Agency for over five years, and I was a Providence Fire Explorer for four years.

Two things can happen when encountering an intoxicated party: they can be slightly intoxicated where they can still walk and talk, they’re coherent and not having the potential of causing harm to themselves or others. Or, they can be too intoxicated to handle themselves, begin stumbling, slurring speech, have a glossy look in their eyes, and even not being able to answer simple questions.

My first advice when it comes to any situation is to always seek help if you cannot handle the situation on your own. If an individual is intoxicated, stumbling, and can’t answer questions such as, “What’s your name?” “What school do you go to?” “What’s one of your friend’s phone numbers you came out with tonight?” then it’s time to seek help. The second piece of advice I would offer is to never attempt to transport an intoxicated subject (especially a stranger) on your own, when you can clearly tell they are over-intoxicated; blood alcohol content rises and the intoxicated subject can take a turn for the worst when you least expect it. Third, if an individual passes out, call 911 immediately and do not delay time! When an individual passes out, they have had way too much alcohol and their body is reacting. Transporting them in a personal vehicle or taxi cab can be dangerous to the individual as they need medical attention immediately.

If in a vehicle, including a taxi, pull over, contact 911, give them your location and let them take over. Next, if you are downtown, there are plenty of public safety vehicles driving around, and all you have to do is flag one down. Police, fire, medical, or even the shuttles/courtesy vans driving around, all have contact with local police. Or you can simply use your cell phone and dial 911 to receive help.

There have been multiple times where I have had to contact medical assistance because people have been too intoxicated downtown, and I’ve never been questioned as to why I did what I did. It’s only right to make sure people get the necessary medical aid due to their state of mind regardless of their age. Would you rather see someone (even a stranger) get in trouble for being underage? Or, would you rather hear about them die because of your reckless decision of ignoring the situation?