Emergency services across Lancashire are preparing for Mad Friday – with a rise on last year’s call outs expected and a warning to ‘know your limits’.
Mad Friday is the nickname given to the last Friday before Christmas that sees town and city centres packed out with parties of drinkers, with many office parties using the night to mark the start of a week or two of annual leave.
In Lancashire, North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) is preparing for an increase in the number of emergency incidents as a result of an increase in drinkers enjoying a merry evening.
A spokesman for NWAS said: “As Christmas party season is now well and truly underway we are anticipating a rise in 999 calls for revellers who have taking their celebrations a little bit too far.
“Last year, the ambulance service dealt with around 434 emergency incidents in the Lancashire area between 6pm on Friday, December 22 and 6am the following morning – a 22 per cent increase on the previous year’s Mad Friday, a number which is expected to rise even further this year.”
To combat a rise in demand, ‘extra resources’ have been made available on the night as well as New Year’s Eve.
The spokesman added: “As always, we do urge public to help us out this holiday season by only calling 999 in a life-threatening or potentially life-threatening situations and taking a bit of extra care if you are out drinking by knowing your limits and planning your journey home.”
In Preston, bars, clubs and pubs are readying themselves for a busy evening.
JD Wetherspoon, which has The Twelve Tellers, The Grey Friar, and The Old Vic, is among them.
Pub spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “Our pubs in Preston expect to be very busy this Friday.
“We have excellent staff at both pubs and know they will cope superbly with the expected high number of customers. We look forward to welcoming them into our pubs and, as always, staff will serve customers responsibly.”
In Preston extra funding is also being made available for taxi stewards on Mad Friday to ensure everyone has a safe journey home.
A spokesman from Preston Business Improvement District (BID) said: “Businesses have been trading up and pulling out all the stops to make this festive period a successful one for them, and an enjoyable one for their customers.
“We expect the city centre to be much busier than usual across the whole weekend but we are confident that people can get in to the festive spirit and still feel safe and secure.
“Preston is an award winning destination after dark and is recognised for being able to offer the public an entertaining, diverse, safe and enjoyable night out.
“To assist people in getting home safely, Preston BID is funding taxi stewards on the main rank on Church Street and Lancaster Road which will help to ensure your journey home is as enjoyable and safe as your night out.”
Lancashire Police have also issued a ‘know your limits’ warning to punters hitting the bars and clubs of Preston.
A police spokesman said: “The last Friday before Christmas is traditionally very busy and extra patrols will be in and around the city centre.
“We want people to go out, enjoy themselves and would urge them to drink sensibly, however, we will take positive action if necessary against anyone causing disorder.
“Know your limits, plan how you are going to get home safely and stick with friends.”
Following Mad Friday in 2015, the Post reported how two tonnes of rubbish was collected by Preston Council waste services from the streets and bins throughout the city.
Preston councillor Brian Rollo, Cabinet Member for Environment said: “During this festive season we hope everyone celebrates and enjoys themselves, whatever their plans, but please spare a thought for those who have to clean up afterwards.
“When you are out and about remember use the litter bins provided, to help keep our city clean and inviting.”