Officials: Halloween safety first
By Joel Davis | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Contrary to its reputation, Halloween may not actually be any more dangerous than any other day. Still, the priority of local officials is to keep children safe during trick or treating.
Spokesman Josh West said that Halloween is just another day at Blount Memorial Hospital. “We do not see an increase in foot traffic or anything around Halloween. It is no busier than any other day.”
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t see any increase in crime during the holiday, said spokeswoman Marian O’Briant.
Maryville Police Chief Tony Crisp said the main concern is traffic. “Our biggest problem is traffic congested in neighborhoods. Years ago, we used to have trouble with vandalism. We still have some, but it’s not a real issue any more.”
The Maryville Police Department will station cruisers in some of the more popular subdivisions for trick or treating. “One of our biggest concerns is the safety of children,” Crisp said. “Some of our most popular subdivisions are inundated with vehicle traffic. (The cruisers) keep people aware. Obviously, we just want to make it as safe as we possibly can.”
As parents prepare to take their children trick-or-treating, the American Red Cross offers safety tips. “Halloween is a fun time, especially for the little ones,” said Mary Beth Birge, emergency services director for the American Red Cross East Tennessee Region. “The Red Cross has steps everyone can take to make sure their Halloween is also a safe one.”
• Add reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags;
• Use flame-resistant costumes;
• Use face makeup instead of masks, which can cover their eyes and make it hard to see.
Safety during trick or treating:
• Plan a route ahead of time;
• Make sure adults know where children are going;
• If the children are young, a parent or responsible adult should accompany them as they walk through the neighborhood.
Here are more safety tips to follow as children go from house to house:
• Make sure trick-or-treaters have a flashlight;
• Visit only the homes that have a porch light on;
• Accept treats at the door — never go inside;
• Walk only on the sidewalks, not in the street; if no sidewalk is available, walk at the edge of the roadway, facing traffic;
• Look both ways before crossing the street, and cross only at the corner;
• Don’t cut across yards or use alleys, and don’t cross between parked cars;
• Be cautious around strange animals, especially dogs.
For those who expect to welcome trick-or-treaters at their door, they can make sure it’s fun for everyone by following a few tips:
• Make sure the outdoor lights are on;
• Sweep leaves from sidewalks and steps;
• Clear the porch or front yard of any obstacles that a child could trip over;
• Restrain pets;
• Use a glow stick instead of a candle in jack-o’-lanterns to avoid a fire hazard.