AS THOUSANDS of Schoolies celebrate their new-found freedom on the Gold Coast and other destinations across Queensland, emergency services are pleading with them to put their safety first.
Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) operations supervisor Cary Strong said Schoolies Week celebrations were an important rite of passage for many, but tragedy could occur if teens were complacent.
"While there are some great experiences to be had, there's also many dangers Schoolies face. Alcohol and drug use, especially in young people, can greatly impair decision-making abilities and can lead to tragedy in the form of accidents, overdoses and assaults," Mr Strong said.
"The best advice we can give Schoolies is to look after their mates and call for help if they are in trouble."
He also warned Schoolies to be careful in high-rise buildings and avoid balcony hopping.
The QAS will have a treatment centre set up next to the main hub on The Esplanade at Surfers Paradise where more than 16 paramedics and a management team will be stationed.
Emergency Management Queensland Gold Coast area director Deryck Taylor said more than 20 State Emergency Service volunteers would support their QAS counterparts on the Gold Coast.