Training to make serving safer

A local organization is reaching out to bar owners and others who serve alcohol to teach them more about underage drinking and adult binge drinking.

Community and Family Resources has received grant money from the Iowa Department of Public Health to host these training sessions at little or no cost to people in Hamilton County who serve alcohol. Mickie Shubin, Prevention Specialist at Community and Family Resources, said Hamilton County was ranked 21st among 23 of the top counties in Iowa for underage and binge drinking. The Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant, or SPF SIG, will provide the organization between $75,000 and $100,000 per year over the next three years to provide this training.

Community and Family Resources provides two kinds of Training Intervention Procedures, or TIPS, classes. The group can host a four-hour class for on-premise alcohol service for bar and restaurant owners and their staffs. Kelly’s Bar and Grill in Webster City was the first local bar to take the course. A condensed two-hour class, TIPS for concessions, provides information for people serving alcohol at community events. Shubin said Briggs Woods Golf Course staff attended a class last year and plan to attend another soon. Additionally, Shubin said members of the Hamilton County Fairgrounds and RAGBRAI servers have taken the class. At these classes, servers can learn how to spot binge drinking habits and spot fake IDs.

“Sometimes, they run into situations where someone wants them to continue serving them and its questionable as to whether they should,” Shubin said. “The class teaches them what’s a good way to handle that.”

The class can also help establishment owners protect themselves from alcohol violations, provide insurance discounts if the staff is TIPS certified and ensure additional defense against lawsuits as the training provides a “reasonable efforts defense,” according to Shubin.

Shubin said Community and Family Resources is flexible with the times and locations that they can host TIPS sessions. Hamilton County establishments and servers can receive training at little or no cost. For more information, contact Shubin or Julie Busby at 832-5432.