University of Vermont

Party Smart

Little Known Safety Facts Checklist for a Successful Party

When we are out downtown, it is often easy to forget that our social lives are just a wall away a resident’s everyday life. Through Low-Impact Partying and by volunteering in the community, we can make Burlington a great place for both students and residents.

1. Know the people at your party

The more unknown people at your gathering, the greater potential for bad things to happen. Fights, theft, and alcohol-related illness or happen more often when you don't know who's at your party. Keeping the size of your party small will significantly lower the chance of theft or other crime, as well as expensive noise violations.

2.  Know the Law

Familiarize yourself with local laws to keep you and your partygoers safe.  Know what draws police to a party and check out Vermont and Burlington laws And note that as a party host, if you serve alcohol, you could face both civil and criminal liability for any injury to guests or damage to property.

3. Provide Options

Limit alcohol, and serve attractive non-alcoholic beverages in addition to any alcohol. Additionally, provide food for guests to consume. Providing bowls of peanuts or pretzel sticks do the trick and don't break the bank.  If underage people drink at your party, you are liable. 

4. Respect your neighbors, respect your landlord and know your lease obligations

It’s always a good idea to get to know your neighbors before you throw a party. Establishing a positive relationship and a way to communicate with each other if problems arise, can lead to mutual respect and understanding. There are at least two reasons why you do not want to be the inconsiderate neighbor. First, people can get that person in trouble if they are breaking a city ordinance. Second, if you're not home and your neighbor sees someone hit your car or walk out of your house with your TV, they are more likely to help you if they know you and like you. 

And note that some landlords include a clause regarding noise and size of gatherings allowed in their lease. Know what your lease obligations are to prevent any problems with your housing. 

5. Be aware of the size of your house or apartment and throw parties accordingly

Stuffing too many people into your apartment or basement is a fire hazard. Make sure that your front and back doors are accessible and that your guests know how to get out quickly in case of and emergency

6. Be considerate

Clean up what you mess up, and keep the noise level reasonable. Encourage guests to use the recycling and trash bins you provide instead of littering city streets and your neighbor’s property.

7. Don't let people drive after drinking

As the party host, you may be legally responsible for the future behaviors of your guests if they have been drinking at your party. Protect yourself and don’t let people drive.

8. If it is your party, consider not drinking

 As the party host, you, and everyone who lives in your household, is responsible for the behaviors of your guests both during the party and after.  Being sober makes it a lot easier to host a good party.


Last modified March 26 2009 04:00 PM

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