Dining, Entertaining & Celebrations

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How hosts can keep guests safe

Party hosts have many tasks on their to-do lists in the days leading up to the festivities. In addition to organizing menus and booking entertainment, safety should feature prominently on hosts' minds to ensure everyone has a good time and a memorable evening.

Alcohol awareness

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, every 51 minutes someone is killed in a drunk driving crash and every 90 seconds someone is injured. Drunk driving injuries and fatalities are entirely preventable. When social occasions include alcoholic beverages, party hosts are responsible for the well-being of their guests. Hosts must monitor guests' alcohol consumption and make any transportation or lodging arrangements for guests who overindulge. Party hosts should have the phone number of various cab companies at the ready or act as designated drivers to ensure guests get home safely.

Safe surroundings

Ensuring guests' safety requires more than just monitoring their alcohol consumption. Party hosts also should strive to provide a safe party environment. Entertaining areas should be clean and  in good repair. If entertaining on a deck, be sure the structure is in good condition and that there are no protruding nails or loose railings.

Clean up entertaining areas so that there are no tripping hazards, such as errant toys or garden hoses, and promptly wipe up indoor spills so no one will slip and fall.

Host should inspect their homes for any additional potential hazards. If young children are attending the party, secure any breakable items, employ safety locks to keep cabinets and doors closed and use outlet covers to make sure outlets are safe.

Food allergies

Some dangers may be lurking in the food that is served at the party. Asks guests to let you know if they have any dietary restrictions so you can avoid serving foods that may prove problematic. Common food allergy offenders include peanuts and other tree nuts, eggs, soy, and wheat. Guests with diabetes may need sugar-free foods, while others with high blood pressure may be avoiding salty foods. Though some guests may be trying to shed a pound or two, do your best to honor any special requests and keep an antihistamine on hand to help  guests who accidentally eat something that is off-limits.

Insurance policies

Hosts who frequently entertain may want to contact their insurance providers and inquire about their level of coverage. Standard homeowner's insurance may not cover any and all accidents that take place on a property. A special rider or umbrella coverage that extends the insurance coverage to other structures on the property and various scenarios may need to be added to your policy to fully cover you. Hosts should speak with their insurance agents to discuss their options.

Before hosting, make sure all insurance policies are paid up so any accidents do not find you holding the bag because of expired coverage.

Keeping guests safe is often an afterthought when planning a party. But guest safety is the host's responsibility and one not to be taken lightly.