Halloween brings out all the frights. And it also brings people of all ages out to celebrate.
Like many other US holidays, the large gatherings and activities centered around Halloween spell a need for extra attention from municipalities. EOCs and local authorities can use a small checklist to ensure their town is ready to keep its residents safe on one of the most fun nights of the year.
Halloween Preparedness Checklist
More populated towns could benefit from closing certain roads on Halloween night.
Low visibility, increased foot traffic, and large crowds are bad conditions for driving and boost the chances of an accident.
EOCs and local authorities can opt to close busier roads to make the night more safe for those out participating in the holiday. Roads with more automobile traffic and those with an expected high volume of trick-or-treaters can make the closure list.
GIS software simplifies how an EOC and local authorities can orchestrate such an operation. Users can map closures out ahead of the event and dynamically open and close roads as the night progresses. More importantly, GIS software and platforms with integrated maps put this vision into the pockets of the officials administrating closures out in town.
Stand-by Medical Services
Any large event is prone to accidents and medical emergencies. Time is very precious during these unfortunate circumstances as well.
Local authorities should communicate with medical providers in the area to ensure medical services can respond to anything quickly.
More importantly, officials should try to enroll medical teams, especially ambulances and other first responders, into a notification system. Again, speed is the biggest game changer in medical emergencies, and getting information out quickly will make a substantial difference.
It’s worth repeating: speed makes the difference in emergency scenarios.
Medical services should be only one of many people and teams on a mass notification list for EOCs, especially during large celebrations.
All EOC stakeholders, a group that should represent most of the town and its departments, have to be accessible when an incident kicks off. There’s no better way to get the word out than mass notification.
A platform will greatly expand an EOC manager’s communication and notification repertoire. Tailored notifications will help get the most important and relevant information out, and templates make the process all that much faster. Additionally, a platform can enable different notifications types, like check-ins.
On Halloween, the speed and clarity efficient mass notification offers is a big benefit. The holiday can be hectic, and keeping all stakeholders on the same page will cut through some of the chaos.
Communications Plans with Residents
On rare years, weather and other conditions force towns to push the scheduled trick-or-treating to another night. Local authorities should draft a canned message for this unlikely scenario so that residents know when they can participate in the holiday safely.
A communications plan slots well into an event plan an EOC may already have, and storing that communications plan in an accessible place should cut the time between the postponement decision and distributing the message.
This item is a more minor one, but it’s still essential. The town and authorities allocate extra time and resources for holiday celebrations like Halloween, and residents should be able to enjoy the safety the additional attention provides.
Coordinate with Other Departments
A special event for an EOC is far from being a one-person show. Police, fire, and public work departments, at a minimum, all help in the response.
More importantly, these departments and their personnel will almost always be out in the field and away from the physical EOC.
Local authorities and EOC managers must spin up channels for communicating with these stakeholders. Virtual platforms ease the lift, letting response leaders collaborate with police and fire as they respond to incidents around town. Platforms put the EOC into responder pockets, making them always accessible.