CON 101: The Safety Dance
by, Robert Cruse
Okay, it is Con(vention) Season time. Excited? Great! Planning on having a good time? Wonderful! However, with Con Season you should always still be aware of what you are doing and what is going on. In light of that, here are a few thoughts you might want to consider before heading out to the Saturday night Con party – or parties – of your choice…
1. You must always be alert. Keep your head up, know your surroundings and don’t be caught by surprise. It’s a pretty simple concept… but you’d be surprised how many forget it once the booze starts flowing.
2. Now, I’m not telling you not to drink. You’re an adult, so if you wish to drink, fine. However if you are going to drink, I would suggest you avoid new types of alcohol. Stick with what you know, or avoid it if at all possible. If you’ve never had tequila, don’t start slamming shots. If do you want to try something new, have a sip, and give yourself some time to react to the alcohol. Don’t forget to eat a bit as well.
3. Do avoid binge drinking if at all possible. I don’t think I have to tell you how that’s going to turn out the next morning, do I?
4. Also, watch your drinks, and who is getting them for you. Someone could think that dropping a drug in your drink is a good idea, so just be prepared. Don’t be afraid to walk away or pour out your drink and get another one that you saw poured yourself. Or ask them to drink it if you’re really suspicious.
5. And for everyone’s sakes KNOW YOUR LIMITS. Please… I’m actually begging you to consider this.
Okay, enough about the drinking. Let’s move on to the physical…
6. Never travel alone. There is power in numbers, especially when you have been drinking. Yeah, your beer goggles may be on, and you may think you have met the geek of your dreams who is telling you everything you want to year… but, check with your friends first, and try not to leave them. There is always tomorrow or next week to get your geek on.
7. Really though, if you’re going to party by yourself, try to let at least one person know where you are going and when you are expected to return. Or check in regularly with one someone via text or voice.
8. If you find yourself in a situation and you’re uncomfortable, you LEAVE. Get out, walk away, and for all that is holy/unholy, just stay away. This is where knowing where you are and having friends with you is your best bet for staying safe. Don’t get on that elevator alone, or head down those darkened hotel stairways by yourself.
9. The easiest way to stay safe is by being smart and avoiding dangerous situations. Traveling with friends always helps, but also being aware of your surroundings is key. If you feel you are being followed try to get to a safe location as quick as possible. If you are alone don’t stop to talk to a stranger if you don’t feel comfortable. Try to walk and stay in highly lit areas at all times, and always stay within view of other people. Avoid shortcuts or what you think are shortcuts.
10. If you do still end up in a dangerous situation it is important to know what to do. If you are confronted always have a plan to get out safe. Get on your cell phone with someone you trust and tell them where you are and what is happening, if necessary tell them to call the police. If you can’t get a hold of someone, and you do not feel safe, dial 9 and 1, and keep your finger on the 1 button – If something happens hit the one and yell out where you are and what is happening.
11. If someone attacks you, don’t yell help, you yell fire! Even the most inebriated person comes running when someone yells fire. It is true, don’t scoff.
12. And lastly, at some Cons there are security checkpoints. If needed, go there for help. And don’t leave there until the situation has been resolved. It’s your safety and you’re the only one in charge of it.
No matter what, most people just want to go out and have fun, let loose and enjoy the Con. There are some who would take advantage of that… so stay safe.
(We have provided photos of 4 MNSOC Board Members who will be attending Convergence this year. If you are in trouble or feeling unsafe at a CON and you see them, they will be happy to escort you to a Safety Services person.)
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