#childsafety | Port Moody police expecting quieter Halloween than usual

A social media survey by the Port Moody police department, showing most residents will stay at home on Halloween night because of the COVID-19 pandemic, won’t affect patrols Saturday night.

Const. Jason Maschke, the department’s community relations officer, said there will still be extra officers deployed that evening despite its recent Twitter poll indicating 70 per cent of respondents won’t be out trick-or-treating or attending Halloween parties. 

“We were kind of surprised,” Maschke said of the unscientific survey’s result, adding he had expected more of a 50-50 split.

Maschke said officers on patrol Halloween night will be looking to ensure people stay safe, and will be reminding groups of the public health protocols.

While there will be more officers on the road than usual Saturday night, they won’t be bolstered this year by the department’s community volunteers.

Maschke said the fluorescent-clad aides, who are normally dispatched in pairs to the city’s various neighbourhoods to keep an eye on things or reunite children who’ve become detached from their parents in the darkness and excitement, as well as hand out stickers, are being asked to stand down to conform to public health directives.

As for the usual blast of fireworks that seems to punctuate Halloween celebrations, Maschke said it’s been quiet so far this year.

He expects that to continue. “I think this is going to be a different year than years past. There’s going to be a lot of dark houses out there.”

Some safety tips from Port Moody police:

For motorists:

  • Expect the unexpected.
  • Be alert and watch for children crossing at non-designated locations or near parked vehicles.
  • Follow the rules of the road. Stop fully at signals and crosswalks and adhere to posted speed limits.
  • Check your mirrors and surrounding area before backing out of driveways.

For homeowners:

  • Don’t hand out candy if you’re feeling ill or you’re self-isolating.
  • Wear a non-medical mask that fully covers your nose and mouth if you are handing out candy.
  • Use tongs to hand out pre-packaged candy.
  • Consider setting up a grab-and-go station of individually wrapped goody bags, but don’t leave out self-serve bowls of bulk candy.
  • Build a candy slide or some sort of non-touch delivery mechanism.

For kids:

  • Don’t talk to strangers or go into anyone’s home or vehicle.
  • Look all ways before crossing the street and help any younger children cross safely.
  • Wear reflective or bright-coloured clothing.
  • Younger kids should stay close to home, parent or group.
  • Stay socially-distant. Minimize your contact with others by trick-or-treating with your safe group and staying three metres apart.
  • Avoid touching doorbells or hand railings. Knock instead and then step back to call “trick or treat” from two metres away.
  • Sanitize your hands after touching surfaces.
  • Don’t eat your candy until it’s been checked by a parent. 

Meanwhile, the city is reminding residents fireworks are only permitted to be set off on Oct. 31, and they can only do so on private property or as part of a public display organized and controlled by a public group or society that has written permission from the fire chief.

As well, no one under the age of 18 is allowed to possess fireworks and they should only be used in open areas away from buildings, vehicles, overhead obstructions and dry brush or grass — never indoors.

Other safety considerations include:

  • Read the instructions before lighting fireworks.
  • Don’t set off fireworks if there’s a strong wind.
  • Keep a charged hose or bucket of water nearby.
  • Keep spectators 20 metres back from the firing area.
  • Wear safety glasses or goggles.
  • Don’t smoke while lighting fireworks.
  • Don’t let children handle the fireworks.
  • Don’t hold fireworks in your hand when you’re lighting them.
  • Don’t try to relight duds or misfires. Wait 30 minutes and then put them in a bucket of water
  • After firing fireworks, clean up, take care of any duds and then check the area again the next morning.

© Copyright Tri-City News

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