Turning 21 and getting to go out can be a lot of fun and a great way to gain new friends, but it also comes with new responsibilities. It’s important to remember to take care of yourself and others when you are trying to get your groove on. We’ve put together some tips below to help you and your friends have a safe and fun time in the Bellingham nightlife scene.
Check your lease before you have a party.
Some property management companies and landlords do not allow large parties and have the right to evict you if you do have them. Having 5 of your closest friends over is fine, but having a kegger of 200 people… is probably not. Remember: serving underage people alcohol is also illegal and you could be held responsible for any underage drinkers at your party.
THE ACTUAL NOISE LAW
The City of Bellingham doesn’t have “quiet hours”, the noise ordinance is in effect 24 hours a day. This means that no matter what time of day it is, you should not be able to hear noise coming from your house from anyone else’s property. When having people over keep your windows shut and have your guests stay inside to keep the noise down.
When going out, stay in a group and make sure everyone has a safe and sober ride home. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe in a bar, ask for help! Bouncers in bars are trained to keep you safe. Always keep an eye on your drink and don’t accept a drink from anyone else! Tip your bartender!
CLEANING UP AFTER YOURSELF AND YOUR GUESTS
The lease holders or renters of the property are responsible for the actions of themselves and their guests at parties. If things are getting rowdy and people are starting to break stuff, don’t be afraid to ask people to leave. Make sure you clean up your yard and your neighbor’s yard, if needed, the next day.
Using a fake ID to buy alcohol or drugs is illegal. It is a felony offense to attempt to buy marijuana with a fake ID. The legal age to buy and smoke marijuana is 21.
EAT FIRST AND OFTEN
Getting a good base and keeping one going will help you feel better later!
It takes a while for the buzz to kick in, so take a break between drinks or hits!
Water, juice, and electrolytes will make you feel way better in the morning!
Take a cab, bus, or call a friend!
BEING RESPECTFUL TO PEOPLE AND THEIR STUFF
Treat people as you wish to be treated. If you’re having a party, let your neighbors know and tell them to contact you if it gets too loud. That’s it!
STAND UP FOR OTHERS
Violence, aggression and intimidation, whether sexual or otherwise, happens. If you see someone who seems like they might need help, stand up for them. Check out the PWS website on bystander intervention.
INTERACTING WITH POLICE
Once the police come to your house, you are going to have to interact with them. If you are nice to them, they will be a lot nicer to you. Make your night and theirs easier by doing what they ask and toning down the party.
GOOD SAMARITAN LAW
Washington’s 911 Overdose Good Samaritan laws state if you think someone’s overdosing or has alcohol poisoning and you seek medical help for the victim, neither of you will be charged for possessing or using drugs or for minor in possession.
SIGNS OF OVERDOSE
Any trouble breathing or having convulsions, vomiting excessively or vomiting blood, unable to stand/walk without help, unconscious or unresponsive, or cold, clammy skin, and/or bluish lips.
IF YOUR PARTY GETS OUT OF HAND
If your small gathering of friends is invaded by a bunch of people you don’t know and you feel like things are getting out of control, you can call the police on your own party and ask them to get your unwanted guests to leave. Generally, police are very understanding of this and want to help you AND they are less likely to ticket you if they know you are trying to get things under control.