Staying safe this holiday

This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer for residents of Eastern Ohio and for people across the nation. It is a time to get away from work and to enjoy some fun with family and friends.

While Memorial Day itself is a somber occasion established to honor those who have died in military service to our country, the weekend leading up to it has become an annual celebration of patriotism and the coming summer season.

Traditional parties and gatherings include activities such as picnics, lawn games, music and much more. In some cases, high school and college graduations will be marked with parties as well.

At many of these events, alcoholic beverages will be present and available for adults to enjoy.

For many people, nothing beats the taste of an ice-cold beer on a warm afternoon or evening spent outdoors. The key to having a god time, though, is to partake of beer and other alcoholic beverages in a responsible manner.

The most important thing to remember if you do plan to drink alcohol this weekend is that you should not get behind the wheel of a vehicle after doing so.

Designate a driver who will agree to remain sober and see everyone home safely before you indulge.

If you make the decision to drink without a designated driver, make other arrangements for your transportation — such as calling a cab — or simply stay where you are.

Adults should also closely monitor teens and children who are present at parties where alcohol is being served. Not only is it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drink alcohol, but it is also dangerous.

We have heard far too many tales of local young people who, inexperienced with alcohol, consumed too much and became sick or even died.

Be sure to make decisions about alcohol consumption and transportation before you partake.

Even a small amount of alcohol can cloud your judgment and lower your inhibitions, making it easier for you to arrive at the wrong conclusion.

By using common sense, we can all help to ensure that everyone in our region has a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.

Happy Memorial Day to all!