Alcohol: Why We Should Worry About It

  Posted on 22nd December 2010 by Loralee Hyde in UFBA News

Canteens on stations has been a hot topic around the UFBA, and CEO George Verry believes that responsibly and safely managing brigade bars comes down to the leadership of brigade members.  So he invited the Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) to come along to conference to speak on why responsible drinking is important, and what brigades can do to help change the drinking culture.

ALAC’s Andrew Galloway started his presentation with some graphic images of the damage alcohol can do.  The costs of alcohol are huge, whether measured in government spending on healthcare, crime prevention, and social welfare, loss of life, or loss of productivity.

It’s well known that firefighters are one of the most trusted brands in New Zealand.  Galloway says the fire service carries a great deal of respect from the public for good reason, but that reputation can be tarnished when just one alcohol-related incident appears in the media.   Maintaining the attractiveness of the fire service, he said, is directly connected to recruiting and retaining volunteers.

He encouraged firefighters to help change the drinking culture by managing alcohol well within brigades, writing policies to support the responsible use of alcohol, and being positive role models within brigades and in the wider community.

The Costs of Alcohol

Estimated to cost between 1 and 4 billion annually

$655 million in public health

$240 million related to crime and its consequences

$200 million in social welfare

$300 million in other government spending

$1.7 billion in lost productivity

3% of all deaths (1000 deaths in 2000) were directly linked to alcohol

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