December 31, 2012 - 1:10 PM
Stepping out on the street, you look before you move. You're on a mission, there for a purpose and extra careful. Multiple zombie-like people swinging there arms and yelling incomprehensible slurs approach. You recognize some of them, shells of people you once knew - but they're different now. You ignore them because you're there to save one particular person from the madness.
Your brightly coloured red vest catches their eyes, and like a bull to a matador, they're coming for you.
"Red Nose for Johnny?" you yell.
Inebriated Johnny emerges from the downtown crowd and your operation nears completion as you jump into his vehicle to drive him home safely.
In it's 17th annual campaign, volunteer and donation based Operation Red Nose ensures people return themselves and their vehicles home safely after holiday celebrations.
It's one option RCMP are hoping Kamloops residents will choose to get home safely after New Year's Eve celebrations this evening.
"Red Nose, cab, walk, just don't get behind the wheel," said RCMP Const. Bernie Ward.
Operation Red Nose program coordinator, Katie Klassen, said there are more volunteer teams availble this New Year's Eve than last year.
"I think we have about 18 or 19 teams," she said. "Last year we had about 15."
Klassen said the extra teams will alleviate wait times.
"It's always hard to get more people out on New Year's Eve. This year it's gone really smoothly," she said.
Ward said Dec. 31 is one of the busiest nights of the year for police.
"We get increased call levels," he said.
"More people are partying, more people are drinking."
Ward said police take extra precautions including increased staffing and road checks.
"We're going to have roving stop checks," Ward said. "We're jumping all over the city."
Ward also said there will be unmarked RCMP cars throughout the city.
"We're expecting people to enjoy themselves, but we're going to be around," he said.
While Kamloops nightlife is busy, Ward said there a more house parties on this night than during the rest of the holidays and warned party hosts of potential risks involved.
"If you're having a party, don't get into a situation where you're over-serving," he said. "There have been cases where people have been sued. If you hold it, be aware you could be responsible."
Ward advised those holding New Year's Eve parties to call RCMP if parties gets out of hand or if people try to drink and drive.
"If you're trying to control the party and someone is insisting on leaving impaired, you should be calling us," he said.
"There has to be someone that's in control. It's your home. You're having the party."
There are multiple options for safe rides home including Operation Red Nose, Kami Cabs and Yellow Cabs.
A Yellow Cabs dispatcher who wished not to be named recommended calling for a cab well in advance.
"There's going to be a two to three hour wait after midnight," she said.
She said all cab drivers work New Year's Eve because it's the busiest night of the year.
"We're still cleaning up the town at five in the morning," she said.
She advised calling an hour ahead of time for a cab.
"Have patience and definitely expect a wait," she said.
Klassen said those calling Operation Red Nose should also call early.
"It could be as little ast 30 or 40 minutes, but it could be as much as an hour and a half," she said.
"Give us a good amount of time. We'll be there."
Operation Red Nose can be called from 9 p.m to 3 a.m. at 250-372-5110. Yellow Cabs can be called at 250-374-3333 and Kami Cabs can be called at 250-372-5151.
— Jessica Wallace
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2012