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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Temperature control

Controlling temperatures and humidity in venues is of paramount importance for the comfort and safety of clubbers. 1Technical Standards for Places of Entertainment 2015 (Reprinted with revisions 1 April 2019)
Technical guidance is available on appropriate temperatures and humidity.

Air conditioning

Some owners or managers are reluctant to switch air conditioning on, through concern about cost. Air conditioning is sometimes switched on when the temperature is already very hot and is then of very limited use in controlling temperature. In order to ensure that the temperature remains at a proper level, air conditioning should be switched on before the event so that it can cope with a gradual increase of temperature as the number of customers increases. This also enables the air conditioning to be operated at less than full power and is more cost efficient.

Alternative ways of controlling temperature

Licence holders should ensure that venues which do not have air conditioning make provision for temperature cooling, for example by hiring or purchasing industrial fans to be placed around dance floors. If necessary, external fire exits could be opened to allow cool air in, provided this has been formally agreed within the fire risk assessment. In such cases where the fire exit door is left opened, it is important to ensure that noise from the club does not disturb local residents and security staff may need to be deployed to prevent unauthorised entry.

It is the venue’s responsibility to prevent customers overheating. Venues should also have a policy where readmission is possible if a customer wishes to go outside to cool off.

Outdoor events

Although festival operators cannot, of course, regulate the temperature outdoors, they should still make careful plans to ensure the safety of customers in the event of different weather conditions. A common problem is ensuring that people have access to free water and shade in high temperatures for summer events. The effects of dehydration can be particularly severe, or even fatal, for people who have consumed drugs and/or alcohol. Operators should make contingency plans to cover likely eventualities to prevent situations like that at a 2019 festival when there was a problem admitting festival goers owing to glitches with a new digital wristband/payment system. This resulted in dozens of people fainting (and several hospital admissions) when festival goers were faced with an unexpected delay in getting on to the festival site when they were standing in hot sun for several hours with no access to water.


1 Technical Standards for Places of Entertainment 2015 (Reprinted with revisions 1 April 2019)


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