Greg shares tips for throwing a safe holiday party in this episode of Ask The Expert. 800 CHAB radio presents Ask the Expert with Greg Marcyniuk of Heritage Insurance located in Moose Jaw.

Heritage Insurance

Here's a full transcript of the episode.

Rob Carnie: It is November, and that means Christmas is just around the corner. And that means it's Christmas Party season.

We're here to talk about that and the liability that goes along with it. Greg Marcyniuk, Heritage Insurance, downtown Moose Jaw. Greg, it's important that people who are throwing Christmas parties know that they're responsible.

Greg Marcyniuk: That's correct, whether you're having a home party, or an office party, you are responsible when you are serving alcohol. So, the biggest thing here Rob is that we're seeing more people suing more people, unfortunately. And, whether you're hosting at your home, or again as a business party, Christmas party, you really have to take your time and make sure you have things set outright.

What I do recommend is that anybody that is serving should have taken the SMART program. And the SMART program is a Server and Manager's Alcohol Responsibility Training.

They look at intoxication like a traffic light.

So, green is a patron that is showing no signs of impairment — they're in a good mood, and they're not drinking rapidly, and you know they get a green light. So you can continue to serve them.

Yellow is a patron on the other had who's not yet intoxicated, but he's drinking very quickly, or she. And is in either in a down mood or out to celebrate, as most of us are at the holiday season. And may be showing some signs of impairment. And your goal is to stop serving before a guest does get intoxicated. So, you should serve this person with caution.

Red, is a patron or a guest that is definitely showing signs of intoxication. They may be depressed, aggressive or in a bad mood, and they're drinking fast. And they seem intent on becoming drunk, so at that point that's when you want to stop them. And when you're dealing with an intoxciated person, you know, just politely say, "You know, you've had enough." And offer them some food, and some either soft drink, tea, coffee, whatever you may have.

And courtesy goes a long way. You know, you should always avoid threatening situations such as, you know, saying, "You're drunk." Instead, put the focus on yourself and say, "You know, I don't want to get into trouble. I'd really like to see you sober up, and would like you to take a cab home."

Rob: Yeah, you've got to turn on some charm.

Greg: Well, that's right. And both you and I have that, of course.

Rob: That's right.

Greg: Some, other great ideas here when you do have a party, you should serve drinks to guests, rather than offering a self-serve bar. Place little table tents on they're saying drink responsible. Don't price alcohol too low or have free alcohol, because that encourages more consumption. And as well, offer a range of low alcohol and alcohol-free drinks. And require the servers to measure the spirits for sure because that can always get people into trouble. And always serve food with alcohol.

Typically, you should close your bar an hour before the party ends. And don't call a last call out because of course, everybody wants to go out and get extra drinks. And, again, I really encourage that you entice guests to take a ride home. Either have a subsidized taxi. I know, myself, I just pay for a taxi ride. I know the Kingsmen club, and I believe there's other service clubs that do offer a safe ride home. So, I really believe that, you know, it's the time of year where people have to take it easy.

And another thing is when you are hosting the event, we have various types of liability insurance that will provide coverage in the event of legal liability.

Rob: And reasonably priced too.

Greg: Very reasonably priced. If you're having it at home, it's based on the number of people that you're having. And of course the amount of liability. So, I highly recommend that you come in, talk to any of our fine brokers here at the corner of Fairford and 1st Northwest. And, check us out online.

Rob: Greg Marcyniuk, Heritage Insurance on 800 CHAB's Ask the Expert.

(Video transcription by Speechpad)

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