Party Host Safety Checklist

Increase the good and reduce the bad!

Whether a first-time or veteran party thrower, don’t underestimate the importance or satisfaction of doing it well. As a host you are responsible for the safety and welfare of your guests, and helping ensure they have a good time. Familiarize yourself with local policies and laws, and consider the checklist below! Remember, you may be liable if anyone is injured so spend a few minutes upfront planning and you can protect yourself and your friends.

At the start of the semester

  • Involve everyone in your residence in establishing your “party night” house rules.
    • Designated smoking areas are outside only.
    • Do NOT touch the music unless there is a noise complaint and then IMMEDIATELY turn it down.
    • If you make a mess or see a mess, clean it up immediately.
    • When guests arrive they must all put their care keys __________.
    • If you see something risky, contact __________.
    • In case of emergency contact __________.
  • Meet your neighbors, swap contact information, and let them know you respect them. TIP: If there’s a problem you would rather hear from your neighbor than from the police.
  • Consider recruiting a crew of sober servers for the semester and establish what roles you want them to have. TIP: train them to serve alcohol, collect car keys, monitor for signs of over-intoxication, and prepare them to be good bystanders. 
  • Familiarize yourselves with the signs of alcohol poisoning and make sure everyone knows to call Harpur’s Ferry immediately if there is a concern. TIP: You can call 911 and ask to be connected with Harpur’s Ferry even if you are off campus.
  • Familiarize yourselves with local laws around alcohol and the Student Code of Conduct. TIP: The city of Binghamton has a Social Host Ordinance which holds party hosts liable if individuals under 21 are served alcohol.

Before the party

  • Identify a primary host. If co-hosting with another group, make sure there is a designated primary contact.
  • Designate sober server(s) to monitor the event and help ensure a safe party. TIP: If you have to pay sober servers, trust that it will save you a lot of stress and allow you to have a good time.
  • Let your neighbors know that you’ll be throwing a party and just in case there is a problem, give them contact information for a sober host they can call, if necessary, before calling the police.
  • Plan your guest list. TIP: Most students report that issues such as vandalism, violence, and theft are perpetrated by uninvited guest.
    • Create a guest list.
    • Send specific invitations and not general ones that can be passed along.
    • In the invitation encourage guests to walk or have a designated driver to get home safely.
  • Map out the party floorplan, games, water and sober host locations.
    • Make sure that any furniture or decorations will not block exits or cover exit lights, smoke detectors, sprinklers or fire extinguishers.
    • Designate where a sober host will be to monitor access to the event.
    • Have an inconspicuous place beside a sober host where car keys can be labelled and stored.
    • Designate water, food, alcoholic beverage station areas.
  • Develop a plan for how guests who are to intoxicated can be assisted in getting home safely or allowed to stay until they are sober.
  • Plan what types of alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages, and snacks you will serve.
    • Plan to have plenty of high-protein, non-salty foods on hand for guests to eat throughout the night. These stay in the stomach the longest and slow down the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.
    • Plan for plenty of water to be available in multiple locations at the event.
      • Sealed and bottled
      • Covered tank or cooler
      • TIP: Place recyclable cups next to all kitchen and bathroom sinks.
    • Avoid serving alcohol in large, open containers. Unless you’re into math, you likely will not track the alcohol content of the beverage you are serving; making it impossible for you and your guest to really know how much they are drinking.
    • Better yet, let your guest BYOB and have a designated table where a sober server will label and store it. TIP: Limit availability of high ABV beverages. There is clear evidence that eliminating hard alcohol significantly decreased the number of transports to the hospital. 

Day of the party

  • Review general security, monitoring, and intervention procedures with all servers and hosts.
    • Intervene with over-intoxication. Slow them down. Cut them off. Get them home. Call for medical assistance.
    • Enthusiastically support moderate and non-drinkers. Stop people who pressure others to drink.
    • Be an upstander if you notice someone in a vulnerable situation or are uncomfortable in any way with what you are seeing (i.e. your guest is going home with someone he/she does not know well or is being pressured to drink more than he/she wants).
    • Discuss maintaining safe occupancy.
    • Make plans for an emergency (i.e. injury, fire, overcrowding, unwanted guests, loitering outside).
    • If neighbors or police contact you during your event, say calm and honest.
    • Don’t be afraid to get help if trouble arises.
    • If you interact with 911 and paramedics:
      • Give them access to the patient and the information they need to help them (i.e. how much was consumed, where it came from, if they’ve vomited).
      • Make sure the patient has ID, phone, and keys.
      • Offer to accompany or pick up when released. TIP: when police and paramedics arrive, life safety is their #1 priority.
  • Have impaired guests spend the night or find your guests rides.
  • Review event procedures with the sober servers for the event:
    • Standard drink sizes.
    • Have the right size cups for the right drink.
    • Establish parameters to avoid over-intoxication.
    • Stop serving alcohol about 1 hour before the party is over.
  • Review procedures for greeting guests with the designated greeters:
    • Check IDs for everyone entering your party.
    • Welcome guests and communicate expectations.
    • Collect keys at the door.
  • Have one main entrance to regulate who you want at the party.
  • Post house policies and key resources (i.e. how to contact the party hosts, signs of alcohol poisoning, etc.) at the front door, at the bar, in bathrooms, and on the stairs.
  • Close doors to bedrooms and private areas to protect your personal belongings and property.

After the party

  • Clean up any trash surrounding your place and anything that may have spilled over onto a neighbor’s property.
  • Get some rest!