Slave Lake RCMP say two men are dead as a result of excessive drinking during the holiday season – and friends have identified one of those men as a devoted father of two.

In one case, police say a 29-year-old man had attended his work Christmas party last Friday, consuming “a large quantity of alcohol,” before being dropped off at his home at approximately 2 a.m. on Saturday.

The man was found dead in his backyard by a friend Saturday afternoon.

Police believe the man died of exposure, and say the temperature that night was approximately -21 C.

In the second case, police say a 48-year-old Slave Lake man died of head injuries after he fell down stairs while impaired.

Slave Lake RCMP and emergency responders are reminding the public about the risks and dangers associated with excessive drinking.

“This is a tragic situation for our community, as well as for the families, and during the holiday season we want everybody just to enjoy themselves and be safe,” S/Sgt. Roberta McKale said.

“I think you see that for the most part hypothermia sneaks up on a lot of people,” Jeff Banyard with Slave Lake EMT said. “You dress warm, you feel warm but cold can sneak up on you so quickly.

“If you make a poor choice, and you maybe stay outside too long or you’re drinking alcohol and you’re outside and you’re making poor decisions hypothermia can be on you in minutes.”

While RCMP would not release the names of the deceased, friends identified the younger man as Chris Robichaud, 29.

CTV News has learned Robichaud was originally from New Brunswick, and moved to Alberta six months ago – and has two small children, a 7-year-old boy and a girl younger than one year.

Friends said Robichaud will be laid to rest later this week in New Brunswick, and a fundraiser is being planned towards a trust fund for his children.

Police are investigating Robichaud’s death, but said it’s too early to say if charges will be laid.

With files from Brenna Rose