(From left) Far North Coast SLS emergency co-ordinator Jimmy Keough, NSW Ambulance Brunswick Valley zone district manager Inspector Greg Powell and Byron Bay lifeguard Steve Mills.
(From left) Far North Coast SLS emergency co-ordinator Jimmy Keough, NSW Ambulance Brunswick Valley zone district manager Inspector Greg Powell and Byron Bay lifeguard Steve Mills. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Byron gets ready for Schoolies

THE HUB is set-up, the sun is out, the red-and-yellow flags are up and the ambulance vans are stocked - Byron Bay is schoolies-ready.

The first lot of 10,000 school- ies expeccted to hit Byron Bay over the next three weeks will start trickling into the coastal town today to celebrate the end of their schooling careers.

While its common knowledge schoolies are here for a good time not a long time, emergency services are urging teens to play safe.

"Schoolies traditionally present paramedics with an increase in drug-and-alcohol indulgence," he said.

"We suggest schoolies buddy up and look after each other and they keep an eye on their drinks in nightclubs," NSW Ambulance Brunswick Valley Zone district manager Inspector Greg Powell said.

"We don't have a high incidence of spiking but there are some that may take advantage of revellers."

Insp Powell said paramedics responded to 200 triple-zero calls during Schoolies celebrations in Byron Bay last year.

"If a person sees a friend drinking too much, becoming boisterous and anti-social, let them know and take them to the HUB," he said.

"Get them time out, rehydrated and calm them down before things turn ugly and something life-changing happens to these people, like an assault resulting in a serious head injury."

Mother Nature is expected to turn on the perfect weather for Byron Bay over coming days, with temperatures predicted to reach the high 20s.

Subsequently, schoolies will flock to the beaches but no matter how sweltering the nights get, Far North Coast Surf Life Saving emergency co-ordinator Jimmy Keough has asked teens not to drink and swim.

"We encourage them if they are alcohol- or drug-affected not to enter the water and only swim in daylight hours and not during the night," he said.

Revellers in the sun are urged to slip, slop and slap by the Cancer Council, which has provided the Schoolies HUB with litres of sunblock.

And while many anxious parents may like to believe their children will continue their vows of celibacy until marriage, the reality is unavoidable and the Schoolies HUB team know it.

"We have condoms, which is an important aspect. Sexual health among young people is a big issue and we want to make sure they are at leastsafeguarded," Schoolies HUB co-ordinator Nicqui Yazdi said.

The Schoolies HUB at Main Beach is open 24 hours and manned by volunteers who are trained in first aid and young mental health first aid.

 

The Red Frogs

  • The Red Frogs are a crew of approachable volunteers who will be based in Byron Bay over the Schoolies period.
  • They assist schoolies by walking young people home, cooking pancakes, cleaning rooms, handing out Allen's Red Frogs and offering emotional support.
  • Talk to them by calling 1300 557 123 or attending the Schoolies HUB.


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