SCMPD urging patrons to plan ahead for safe New Year celebration - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

SCMPD urging patrons to plan ahead for safe New Year celebrations

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

With Christmas behind us, one more big night of celebrating remains.

Since New Year’s Eve is Thursday, those who protect our community are getting their game plan in order to make sure everyone has a fun and safe time. One of the top things Savannah-Chatham Metro Police will be looking for are drivers under the influence of alcohol, and they'll have the help of the Georgia State Patrol to do that.

So police are urging you now, to start making plans to have a ride to and from the New Year's Eve celebration you're planning on going to, at the very least, you'll stay out of jail and not have to worry about finding parking. With the large number of people expected to be downtown, especially on Bay and River Streets for the Up the Cup countdown, if your children are along for the fun, here is a safety tip from police in case you get separated.

“Technology is great. So one of my recommendations would be, before you go out for the evening, take a family picture with your kids or take a picture of your kids. That way there is an up-to-date photo of what they look like, what their hairstyle was that day, what their clothing was. Because in the heat of the moment there's a lot to remember and that picture take some of that burden off of you as a parent,” said APO Hillary Nielsen, SCMPD.

SCMPD are planning increased patrols for the New Year's Eve celebrations going on around the city, including some help from Georgia State Patrol. From foot patrols to the officers mounted on horseback, you can expect to see that presence anywhere you go Thursday night into Friday.

Drinking and driving is one of the obvious things you should not do, and police will be looking extra carefully for those who do. But another New Year's Eve urge some have every year is firing a gun into the air.

Not only is that dangerous, it's also illegal, and at the very least if you're caught, you'll face a misdemeanor charge. Last New Year's Eve, police recorded 23 ShotSpotter notifications between 9 p.m. and 4 a. ., and responded to 78 guns fired calls throughout the jurisdiction.

Firework safety is also another big emphasis for police, since this is now the second year that state law allows for the use of fireworks and for extended hours.

"Where you are setting up and setting off these fireworks is another big part of it. You want them to be away from anything that could do damage. So away from people, not pointing in the direction of anybody or anything. If they are going to be fireworks that go up into the air, then you don't want them to potential he landed in a tree because that could cause damage and catch fire,” said Nielsen.

Fireworks are normally supposed to stop at midnight year-round, but for New Years and the 4th of July, that time is extended to 2 a.m.

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