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Calgary first responders provide tips for a safe Halloween

Calgary Police, Fire Department, EMS, Calgary Transit, and 911 service want everyone to have a fun Halloween this year, and have provided some top tips ahead of trick-or-treating to keep everyone taking part safe.

Representatives of the various agencies joined in the annual safety message, put on by Calgary’s Child Magazine, at Heritage Park on Oct. 30.

“Calgary partners for safety have been patrolling the streets on Halloween night for 29 years now to help keep young Calgary’s Calgarians safe while they trick-or-treat,” said Ellen Percival, publisher of Calgary’s Child Magazine.

“The partners for safety programs goals are to provide Halloween safety information to parents and their children and to patrol communities, and provide a visible presence on Halloween night.”

She said that from 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 31, vehicles from CPS, CFD, Bylaw Services, and EMS would have highly visible vehicles patrolling Calgary neighbourhoods to provide assistance to trick-or-treaters throughout the evening.

Although, said Carol Henke, Public Information Officer for the Calgary Fire Department, firefighters in fire trucks on patrol would not be handing out candy this year because of the safety hazard of young children running up to the trucks in the street.

Percival also wanted children and parents to know that if they need assistance during the evening, they can also approach Calgary Transit buses and trains for help, as operators of those vehicles have the ability to radio for service.

Acting Staff Sergeant Chris Agren with the Calgary Police Service Traffic Unit said they wanted to remind trick-or-treaters about the dangers of crossing streets, and staying safe from traffic.

“My kids have been preparing for a couple, three weeks now and they can’t wait to get going. I just think we should be aware there’s lots of moms and dads and little ones running around. But there’s also older kids that aren’t running around with parents, so it’s super important that they stay in groups and they don’t zigzag across the streets,” Agren said.

He said that it was also important to have a plan of where Calgarians would be going trick-or-treating and that other people know what that plan is.

“Remember everyone safe pedestrian safety rules still apply in these cases. I know that we’ve really done a good job educating our kids in regards to know how to cross the street and how to be safe,” Agren said.

He said that if any children are approached by strangers asking for them to enter houses or to enter vehicles throughout the evening, it’s OK to say no and to go find someone else they can feel safe with.

Junior Fire Chief Mustafa Mohammadi, left, along with some Halloween safety ambassadors trick-or-treat at the Prince House at Heritage Park in Calgary on Monday, October 30, 2023. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Avoid costumes that make it difficult to walk on ice and snow

Adam Loria, a Public Education Officer with Alberta Health Services, Emergency Medical Services, said that it was important for trick-or-treaters to try on their costumes beforehand.

“Shoes, clothing, and all accessories should be comfortable and not impede vision or the ability to walk especially when navigating stairs,” he said.

“Make sure costumes aren’t too big or long to avoid tripping hazards and the costume should not cover ankles. In addition, costumes should be loose enough to be put over some warm clothing. Hopefully, we don’t need to do that tomorrow, but definitely, it’s better to be warmer and have to take off versus not having enough clothing when it’s cooler out.”

He said that it was better to wear brightly coloured costumes over dark ones at night, but that if trick-or-treaters wear dark costumes then adding reflective tape was a way to help make those costumes safer.

“All costume accessories such as sticks, wands, rods, etc. should be soft and flexible with no sharp edges. And lastly, make sure that any masks that may cover your eyes are properly fitted and don’t impede vision when, specifically again, navigating steps or crossing streets,” Loria said.

Henke said that it was also important to ensure that costumes were fire-resistant.

“If costumes get too close to open flames then we have to practice the stop, drop and roll, and we don’t want to do that,” she said.

She suggested that for Halloween decorations, LED lights be used in place of candles, open flames, or light bulbs that get hot.

The message from Deputy Chief Glenda Sahlen, 911 Operations for the City of Calgary, was to ensure that safe routes are taken during trick-or-treating.

“Certainly look both ways before you’re crossing the road, and don’t take shortcuts down back alleys or cut through private property,” she said.

“If any situation or any person makes you uncomfortable, you can call a parent, a trusted adult, or you can call 911. So have fun tomorrow night, and everybody be safe.”