It’s just two days until ghouls and goblins will overtake the streets of British Columbia in search of candy, and public officials want to make sure the only gore and wounds on display for Halloween are costume-related.
Doctors, firefighters, police and paramedics are urging the public to take extra steps to ensure their kids — and their own — safety as All Hallows’ Eve approaches.
Dr. Neal Barclay with Royal Columbian Hospital says it’s shaping up to be a clear night on Thursday.
He said more trick-or-treaters are expected with no rain in the forecast, and that the sun is both lower in the sky and setting earlier.
“All of these things add up to creating a higher risk of people being in motor vehicle accidents with pedestrians,” he said. “So what I ask parents to do is really speak with their children about road safety.”
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Barclay said parents should make sure kids know to only cross streets at corners, ideally at illuminated crosswalks, and should always make sure a driver sees them and comes to a complete stop before crossing.
He said making sure kids’ costumes are visible with reflective tape or glowsticks is also key.
“Glowsticks are great,” he said.
“I have small children; they love glowsticks. Nothing better than having those bobbing along to see where the kids are if they’re wearing dark costumes.”
Vancouver police Sgt. Aaron Roed added that the responsibility for road safety doesn’t only fall to the kids.
“If you are a driver, please be patient with the children who are out trick or treating,” said Roed.
“They’re not paying as much attention as you are. They’re gathering their candy, darting in and out of traffic, and really not seeing cars.”
Drivers are also being reminded if they plan to drink or consume cannabis to plan ahead for a safe ride home.
He said police traditionally see a large spike in 911 calls on Halloween, and will also be deploying extra officers to parks and schools.
And he said anyone with a fake weapon included in their costume should take steps to avoid an encounter with police.
“Knives, fake rifles, fake handguns, fake swords — we’re asking if you are going to be part of your costume, please make them readily identifiable as imitations.”
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Firefighters are reminding Halloween revelers to ensure they know and follow the rules around the use of fireworks in their community.
Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services Capt. Jonathan Gormick said in Vancouver, that means being 19 or older and having a permit obtained from the city.
“Read the directions on fireworks before their use. They’ll tell you which end is up, which type of surface they need to be on, and which type for range they have,” said Gormick, adding that users should always use safety equipment.
“Fireworks burn extremely hot, and if used improperly can cause severe burns. So at the very minimum, [have] non-combustible gloves, protective eyewear and at least a bucket of water standing by.”
Once the fun is over and the kids return home, paramedic David Loutit with the BC Ambulance Service says parents should make sure to double-check their kids’ candy to make sure it’s safe and unopened.
“Have a responsible adult inspect the children’s candy before eating,” he said.
“And if in doubt, throw it out.”
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