Celebrating The New Year Safely

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - On Monday many people in KELOLAND will be out celebrating the start of the new year. 

And for some, those festivities may include alcoholic beverages. 

Many are looking back on the past year, while welcoming a new one. 
And for some, celebrations are in order. 

"We normally just get together it's a lot easier and quicker and fun, and a little bit cheaper and everyone comes over. I made a 15 foot saran wrap ball that we can have fun with tonight," Joey Totton said.

Although Totton won't be hitting the bars to celebrate the new year, she'll still be enjoying alcoholic beverages with friends. 

"Wines, champagnes, you know some of the fun things. The different shots, absolutely," Totton said. 

Another thing party goers may want to add to their list? Safety. 
Paramedic Matthew Gruchow says drinking paired with tonight's frigid temps in KELOLAND can be a dangerous mix.

"When it comes to alcohol and cold weather your body doesn't regulate it's temperature the way it normally would if you have alcohol on board," Gruchow said.

Alcohol can make you feel warm due to your blood vessels expanding, but according to Mayo Clinic you're actually losing body heat. Pair that with the cold temps and it can lead to hypothermia.

"Hypothermia is going to present with a number of generalized symptoms. Things to look for would be like mumbling, or they were shivering and have stopped shivering, they're disoriented, they're slurring their words," Gruchow said. 

If you or someone around you is experiencing these symptoms, find a warm place or call 9-1-1.

"Hypothermia is deadly," Gruchow said.

Totton knows that all too well after losing her former brother in law.

"He got drunk one night he was nice and warm and sat in his pickup and he ended up passing away, it didn't warm him up... so yeah, I've had that experience before," Totton said. 

Experts say one way you can avoid the dangers that follow drinking in the cold weather, is by planning ahead. 

Dress for the weather, have a safe driver to get you to your destinations, and drink responsibly. 

Gruchow also suggests packing your car with winter weather survival kits before heading out to your New Years Eve celebrations.

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