Emergency Info

Guidelines on when to call the Emergency Services 999 for unwell recreational drug users

Call 999 if ANY one of the following is present:

Unconsciousness – if the patient does not respond to vocal commands, requires painful stimulus (e.g. pressure across the fingernails) to respond or does not respond at all.

Significant agitation (e.g. pacing around the room) or aggression not settling within 15 minutes.

Seizures (e.g. a convulsion similar to an epileptic fit)

Breathing difficulties such as fast breathing rate which does not settle within 15 minutes.

Heart rate over 140 beats per minute not settling within 5 minutes.

Temperature over 38.5 not settling after about 5 minutes of rest, or if very flushed and feels very hot if no thermometer is available.

Blood pressure – Systolic (“upper pressure”) over 180mmHg, or Diastolic (“lower pressure”) over 110mmHg on two repeated blood pressure measurements.

Other concerns – if there are any other concerns (e.g. severe headache, chest pain).


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Combat overheating

One of the main causes of overheating is dancers becoming ‘locked in’ to the music and dancing for hours on end to a fast beat. Fuelled by ecstasy or other stimulant drugs, the risks to health are clear. A number of measures can be taken by club and sound system staff to encourage dancers to take breaks. These are set out below.

Customer care

Typically, as the event goes on, the harder and faster the music gets. This is what the majority of customers want and expect. Although clubbers should take responsibility for controlling their own heat levels, DJs can help by being attentive to what is happening on the dance floor and should be aware if the temperature is rising to dangerous levels. Within mixes of records it is possible to introduce a few moments of calm time.

Staff vigilance

The vital measure in pinpointing potential candidates for overheating is for all staff to be extra vigilant and watch the dance floors. By keeping a watchful eye on the customers, it will become apparent who is too immersed in dancing to think about taking a break or a drink. These people should be kept under close observation, offered water and gently encouraged to take a break.

However it is not advisable to be persistent as this may upset or agitate the customer who may become confused as to why they are receiving such attention.

Chill-out areas

Spaces should be set aside for dancers to rest and cool down – ‘chill out areas’. These areas should be cooler and quieter than the main dance floors. Seating should be provided and door supervisors or other club staff should have a low-key presence to prevent overcrowding.

If chill out rooms are provided, it is important to ensure that the music played there is quieter and slower. Although DJs may be briefed to fulfil this requirement, they may disregard this and end up ‘competing’ with DJs playing music in the main areas. If this happens, the promoter or venue manager needs to step in and remind them of their brief.

Dress codes

Some dancers may get so hot that they wish to undress in a way that contravenes the venue’s dress code. This is an indication that the temperature is too hot and action needs to be taken. In the meantime, dancers should be allowed to take off some clothes to aid them in controlling their body temperature.

Warming up again

Clubbers will need to put on extra layers of clothing to safeguard their health on the way home, especially in winter time. It is important therefore for clubs to provide an adequate cloakroom which is efficiently and securely operated. The cost should either be free, (incorporated into the price of entry) or reasonable to encourage clubbers to use it. Customers who leave the premises to smoke should be able to retrieve their coats at no extra charge – particularly in the winter months. Most events now operate biometric or other digital systems which makes these systems both easier and cheaper to administrate.


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