California Fire Department Tracks College Students Alcohol Incidentsby baladmin | September 2, 2014
Alcohol Emergency Calls Place Overload on City Resources
UC Berkley students who like to drink alcohol placed an excessive amount of alcohol related emergency calls to the Berkley Fire Department on August 25, 2014. Starting at about 11 p.m. that evening, the Berkley Fire Department received 16 emergency calls from the campus, 12 of which were alcohol related emergencies.
The 16 emergency calls were in addition to all the other calls the Fire Department responded to. As a result of the high call volume from the university, the fire department has developed a new system to track the calls specifically from UC Berkley students. Earlier in August, ABC7 did a special report detailing the serious drinking problem on the UC Berkley campus.
“What we have experienced is that people are drinking more,” says Terry Arnold of Alta Bates Hospital. He heads the Alta Bates treatment program, and he works with Cal students, “It’s not unlikely for me to have assessed a client here or have my people assess a client and say, ‘Well, I took eleven shots in one minute.’ Now, your system can’t handle that.”
According to acting Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb of the Berkley fire department, the tracking system will help to detect patterns in campus-related emergency calls to better predict the nights that may see higher emergency call volumes. Within the seven-hour period, the city of Berkley was forced to use its three ambulances and all of its available fire engines and ladder trucks, Webb said. The city also had to call for mutual aid, including seven ambulances from Oakland, to handle the emergencies.
Alcohol Related Emergencies Increase on Berkley Campus
As detailed in The Daily Californian today—over the past few years, the number of student-related alcohol incidents has been on an upward trend. So far this year, the number of alcohol-related incidents is triple what it was at this point in 2005, according to UCPD data.
Online Required AlcoholEdu Course for Berkley Students
As part of UC Berkley’s alcohol education program-AlcoholEdu, all incoming students are required to take an online course about alcohol’s effects and how to better make safe decisions. According to the program’s coordinator Karen Hughes, more than 5,000 new students have completed the course. Following is the outline of the course:
Dear Student: As part of the University’s alcohol prevention program, all incoming students are required to complete a confidential, online alcohol education course, entitled AlcoholEdu for College. The course uses science-based research to educate students about alcohol and its effects. Whether you drink or not, the course will help you make informed decisions about alcohol and better deal with drinking behavior that may occur around you.
The course consists of two parts, both of which must be completed to satisfy this requirement. All information you provide is confidential. Campus and AlcoholEDU staff will never see individual student surveys or responses.
Alcohol #1 Drug Abused on Campus
Although many people think that marijuana is the most abused substance on college campuses today, the latest reports indicate that alcohol is still the most abused drug by college kids. Education provided by the universities that inform students about the dangers of alcohol abuse is a step in the right direction. The Berkly fire department’s incident tracking combined with the school’s mandatory alcohol awareness course will hopefully lower the amount of alcohol related emergencies on campus.