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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Overall safety

Local fire and Health and Safety officers will direct the venue to comply with the requirements of Health and Safety legislation.

Common important issues for consideration at event venues include:

  • Ensuring that access to potentially dangerous sites such as the top of speakers or balcony rails is effectively prevented,
  • Employing glass collectors to ensure that drinking vessels do not accumulate and cause obstructions,
  • Providing drinks in glasses that are made of poly-carbonate to prevent them being used as weapons,
  • Bottled drinks should be poured into these glasses or consideration should be given to selling beers in polycarbonate bottles,
  • Ensuring that fixtures and fittings are safe and secure and unlikely to cause harm or injury,
  • Ensuring that all fixtures and fittings and electrical systems in particular are safeguarded from the effects of excessive condensation which are common at dance events or from the rain at festivals or outside events,
  • Making sure that a maximum volume on sound systems is set to prevent causing hearing damage to clubbers and staff or disturbance to neighbours. In many cases it may be appropriate to install a tamper-proof sound limiter on the amplification system.
  • Informing customers of the intended use of any strobe or laser lighting, smoke or other special effects and ensuring that these are installed and used safely,
  • Preventing floors from becoming slippery from condensation or spilt drinks,
  • Ensuring that emergency evacuation procedures take into account the fact that many customers may be intoxicated from drink or drugs1,
  • Providing supervised ‘chill out’ areas where customers can have a ‘time out’ obtain free drinking water and seek assistance from welfare or medical staff or seek advice on drug use.


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