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Atoke: Because I Love You! Here Are a Few Safety Tips for the Turn Up Season…

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Over the past weekend, I was doing my favourite thing in the world – aproko  browsing through the streets of Instagram and something sparkly caught my eye. It was a glitzy party with couple dancing against a backdrop of bright fire sparklers. Really pretty, sight! However, the more I looked, the more I thought of the fire hazards that came with having those sparklers indoors. I looked at more pictures from the party, and quickly glanced for the fire exits.

You see, I’m paranoid about fire. Like, I see a fire hazard somewhere and I’m already mentally looking for how to escape. This paranoia comes from having my brother die from a generator explosion in Lagos. The apartment was a regular Lagos one with one exit – and the generators were under the staircase at the entrance (that doubled as the exit) to the building. Now, since the fire started from under there, and there was no alternative exit, the family had to be evacuated through the windows (with burglary-proof well cemented into the walls.) You can understand why fire hazards are not a joke for me. I’ve seen its effect – live, in action.

Because the emotional trauma of losing someone you love, to such a horrific and avoidable death, I have decided to come and preach the gospel of SAFETY once again. (Remember, I did it before! But this is my ministry, so I will continue to preach it)

As we approach turn up season, here are a few quick tips I’d like to remind you guys. I hope you read, share and practice. I may not have all of them outlined, but these are the ones that come to mind right now.

Crowded spaces & Fire Exits
Seeing as this is what gave rise to this article, I’ll start from here. Guys, please, please, please, let us be conscious of crowded spaces. There are so many concerts and parties lined up this holiday season. We want to enjoy them all, but we need to also do so with care. If you’re going to an event that there’s going to be a high census, look for the nearest exit immediately you get to the venue. If anything goes wrong, be prepared to make a beeline to the exit closest to you. There will probably be a stampede – that arises from panic, stay calm and remove yourself from danger (without causing harm to another person) Keep your belongings close to you, don’t leave your phone carelessly. Be aware of your environment. At the risk of sounding like a Debbie Downer, bad people are everywhere. Don’t leave your drinks unattended to. Don’t be careless with your purses (and your chargers! High commodity sturvz)
As the host or organiser of a party, please ensure that fire exits are not blocked with boxes and speakers and all whatnot. Usually, we’re just looking for where to dump load and we see fire exits as ‘nobody is kuku using these door. Drop those boxes there’ Mba! Keep all exits and stairways CLEAR. Event venue owners should ensure that fire exits are left open. I will never understand why people lock doors that should be meant for fire escape. When there’s an emergency, we will now be looking for the manager who has the key, and has gone to his village in Isanlu-Isin. Please, don’t lock the fire exit doors. Ensure vendors are not overloading the electrical mains. You’ll go to some parties and see 7 high wattage items on one small 13 amp socket. Then, you’ll now see one small thin wired power extension snaking out of there with 50 phone chargers!

Repeat after me…FIRE HAZARD! DO NOT!

Also, if you’re getting vendors who will use incendiary devices indoors, please ensure that there is no inflammable material nearby. Hair, rubber, paper… If you absolutely must have fire sparklers at your party, ensure that there’s provision for emergency evacuation. Some people may have light sensitivity issues, or even bronchitis or asthma.

Pre-existing Health Conditions
This takes me to my next point. If you have asthma, please always go around with your inhaler, and your back up inhaler, and the back up to your back up. It may seem like a redundant point, but guys, I’ve actually heard a grown ass man tell me he forgot his inhaler in the car and was too lazy to go get it, because where he parked is far. Hmm! I took a deep breath and told him how much one plot is in Ikoyi Cemetery. Then, I proceeded to advise him on the cost of caskets, pall bearers, and then the official papers one needs for a burial. Burials are not cheap, and I’ve written about that here on BellaNaija {Click here if you missed it} Do not take stupid risks, or put yourself in a position where other people have to pay for your carelessness.
If you have any pre-existing health conditions, (bronchitis, asthma or light sensitivity) please do not go to a party where they will have smoke and all these shine shine things you millennials like to have for turn up. Stay safe, and remember that your health is more important than the party. If you absolutely must go because your picture must be in the HashTag scroll, please remember, your loved ones who will have to pay the price, when you’re gone.

Under age sibling/relatives
Yes, I understand you want to be the cool sister, aunty, uncle, whatever…so when that 15 year old tells you they wanna go for that IT show, you just wanna make them happy. Guys, there’s a reason why these things are for adults. F’real! Your 14 year old sister is still 14! No matter how much make up you slap on her face, and no matter how tight the dress she is wearing is. If someone sexually assaults your baby sister while you’re not looking, what will be the justification for taking her out? You’re probably going to be so busy turning up with your friends that you won’t notice when someone slips something into her drink.
This is not a joke! Please, please, please don’t take your underage sister, or niece or sibling to a party meant for adults. Many years ago, when I lived in Ilorin, we had a house party and some disgruntled people (who were not invited) gained access and threw tear gas into the living room. Everyone got out safely – except one girl. She happened to be the asthmatic younger sister of someone. Apparently, they had snuck the little girl out of the house to come for the party. Dearly beloved, let us be wise in our actions.

Don’t Drink & Drive
Look, anybody who knows me, knows I love my happy juice. Next to coffee, my Absolut is my next favourite liquid in the world. The only thing sweeter than booze is free booze! Turn up season is a festival of free booze! Everywhere you go there’s just so much to drink… and so many reasons to keep drinking.

Moderation is key. As adults, we should be able to take control of our lives and our lifestyle. Drink in moderation. Also, do not drink and drive. Do not get into a car with someone who has been drinking. Do not drive if you feel you’re slightly, ever so slightly less than completely aware of yourself. In fact, no. Don’t drive at all.

Budget money for your taxi or whatever way you are going to get home. If you plan to get plastered, have a designated sober driver who will ensure you get into a SAFE vehicle to be transported home. IF you find yourself without such a friend, please sleep on the floor at Civic Centre.

Look at it this way, if you don’t die from the car wreck, and you break your spinal cord and other things, it’s going to be costly to keep you alive. That free booze won’t be worth it any more. Even worse, if you drive while inebriated, and you don’t die, but you cause the person in the next car to die, or become incapacitated… I don’t even know how you will live with the guilt for the rest of your life.

Okay oh! I think that’s enough pontificating from me. One of my friends said, on Twitter, that it is not my business whether people take precautions when they’re getting fire sparklers at their party. If you feel this is not my business, thank you for still taking time to read up to this point.

Peace out…**slides out of the building Michael Jackson style**

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website atoke.com for more information.

14 Comments

  1. EE

    December 22, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    Well, this got dark fast. Its probably been a while, but my sincere condolences, nonetheless.

    I’ve got Fargo, Homeland, Narcos, Black Mirror, The 100, Preacher, Into The Badlands, Durarara and Beserk occupying me. So I’m probably as safe as can be humanly guaranteed. Best part of being indoors, you can ignore all of Atoke’s safety tips and not be concerned.

    P.S The Crown isn’t overhyped.

    • A Real Nigerian

      December 22, 2016 at 2:27 pm

      Into the Badlands is a shyt show. Vomitted barely 30 minutes into the first season.
      Regarding Fargo, is the TV show as good as the movie?

    • Iya

      December 22, 2016 at 6:57 pm

      EE and ARN you guys should just marry please. Thank you ?

    • ARN

      December 22, 2016 at 7:51 pm

      Seems like you enjoy vomiting.

    • EE

      December 23, 2016 at 6:55 am

      Never saw the movie, but the TV show is good. Into the Badlands is not shit, at least not for people like me that grew up with the old school kung-fu films.

      @Iya ??????

  2. Californiabawlar

    December 22, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    Lmao! I did that sliding mentally with you ?
    @Free booze being the only thing better than booze! yasss girl yasss! ???? My life is a distressing cycle of coffee keeping me awake and alcohol putting me to sleep. Turrible but exciting ???
    Safety tip on drinking and driving…Uber and/car pooling with a non drinker…this way you’re prepared before hand and won’t be worried about leaving your vehicle at a random location. I gave up alcohol once and I chauffeured my friends with no hassle for like two years. Please look out for your friends. If you see that they’re drunk, you can either give them a ride home or go hangout with them at a spot that stays open late till they sober up.

  3. L

    December 22, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Nice write up, thanks for sharing.. might I also add, ladies have your pepper spray handy in case….
    Wish everyone a fun-filled and safe Yuletide celebration.

  4. Nne

    December 22, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Dear Atoke you’re so correct concerning your second point, I use to be asthmatic so I can relate.

    Pls if you are asthmatic, during this period carry your inhaler EVERYWHERE, harmattan is here with dust plus so many places will be crowded with people with their different different perfume before they choke you.
    Avoid smokey places no matter the fun going on there.
    Carry back-up inhaler, when I was younger my mum use to have a spare inhaler in her bag anything I’m going out with her.
    Wherever you are and you discover you are not with your inhaler pls go back and pick it up to avoid the public embarrassment and making people run upandan when attack starts.

    While thanking God in advance for permanent and total healing, let’s avoid stories that touch.

  5. Marlvina

    December 22, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Nice read! ? the manager traveling to his village with the emergency doors keys. Smh! Dem send am for real o. Well, I’m very particular about exits. Wherever I am, I consciously position myself close to windows, doors. I guess I’m claustrophobic. In vehicles, if I ain’t seated close to the door, I get grumpy. Airplanes especially, give me the window seat and my day is rest assured to be a happy one. Especially if I’m by the overwing exit, so just in case. . .ahh! Hmm. . .there’s need for an evacuation, na me go jump out first o. Thanks for sharing these tips ma’am. Our lives matter.

  6. The Real Oma

    December 22, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Oh f%%k, I just reaalized I left my ‘copy’ of The Crown at home – on my way to spend the hols at my parents’. Oh well, I do have Igoni’ Black Ass with me and looking forward to digging in 🙂

  7. Miss

    December 22, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    sorry to digress, could you please post my letter to Aunty Bella which i dropped as a comment on Peculiar Okafor’s post on Instagram and stalking. Thanks BN

  8. Mz Socially Awkward....

    December 22, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Atoks, you don’t need to apologise to anyone (re your last paragraph). Yes, it’s people’s business how they want to live (or squander ?) their lives …. BUT chances are high that one person’s irresponsible decision (e.g. drink-driving) can have long-lasting of effects on the innocent others. ?? So, keep this PSA blaring on the highest volume, biko.

    And I like your reply to the friend who wasn’t bothered about leaving his inhaler behind – no be small question, even me kwanu no get any idea of the cost of land in Ikoyi cemetery.

    I did a safety moment at work once on the importance of figuring out your emergency exits once you newly enter any non-familiar environment (e.g. – client work site, a hotel, conference venues) & after the research I made into the subject, I’ve become quite paranoid about it. After reading reports of fires and disasters happening in buildings where the majority died because they couldn’t make it to the sole single entry/exit point, that’s now one of my biggest fears. That someone’s negligence in building planning will cost my innocent life (God forbid).

    Great points in all, let those who turn up, do so with wisdom.

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      December 22, 2016 at 7:06 pm

      *longlasting effects*

  9. Manny

    December 23, 2016 at 3:17 am

    I love this Atoke. It’s sort of like pre-flight safety announcements … most of us don’t pay attention but it has to be said anyway and there are one or two people that will be saved by listening.
    So it’s very very right to pontificate on this issue.
    Thank you!

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