Staying safe on Halloween: Tips from first responders
With Halloween celebrations beginning as early as this weekend, first responders in Vancouver are gearing up for an increase in calls and accidents.
This year, Vancouver police have partnered with Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, BC Ambulance Service and the Canadian National Fireworks Association to promote safe practices around the holiday. Every year, first responders see a spike in incidents whether it’s car accidents, injuries or 911 calls from concerned neighbours.
Halloween partygoers celebrating in the Granville Entertainment District can expect to see extra police officers providing a visible presence in the area. Const. Jason Doucette also called for downtown drivers to be cautious.
"We’re asking people not to participate in impaired driving," he said at a press conference Friday morning. "We also want drivers to slow down and pay attention."
According to ICBC, car crashes increase by 25 per cent on Halloween compared to a typical day. On average, 240 people are injured in 620 crashes on Oct. 31 in the Lower Mainland. Doucette said drivers need to watch for kids in particular.
"We’re going to have lots of kids out all weekend long, not just on Halloween night," he said. "Kids are going to be excited and they won’t particularly be looking for vehicles, they’re looking for treats."
For anyone looking to light fireworks, Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services highlighted the regulations in the city including needing to be 19 years old, have a permit and buy fireworks from an authorized retailer.
"Fireworks that are purchased on the internet or in other clandestine manners may not have passed Canadian safety standards, may not be safe to use and won’t be safe for the user or those around them," said Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services spokesman, Jonathan Gormick.
However, some Vancouverites aren’t happy that fireworks are still allowed on the holiday as they’ve led to significant injuries in the past. In 2015, a more than 100 year old home was destroyed in a fire that was started from a firework and in 2013, a woman lost sight in her left eye after she was hit by a bottle rocket in Gastown.
Why does vancouver have legal fireworks? I really wish we just didn't— Emily (@epat96) October 26, 2017
Another tip for parents and partiers is to avoid costumes with fake weapons that are too realistic because there are 911 calls every year that tie up police resources.
"If we get a phone call reporting a person with a weapon we have to treat that weapon as real until we can prove otherwise, " Doucette said. "So save yourself some grief, save us some grief and put it away until you get to your destination."
Even still, if you see something concerning on Halloween, Vancouver police encourage you to notify them.
"If you see anything suspicious, anything that’s just not feeling right for you, please don’t just attribute it to Halloween," Doucette said. "Take the whole scenario into consideration and if you feel that it’s worthy of a phone call to the police, we’re encouraging you to do that. Our officers will attend and investigate. "
With files from CTV Vancouver’s Nafeesa Karim