Military News

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Staying safe doesn’t have to be a drag during Halloween

by Senior Airman Tammie Ramsouer
JBER Public Affairs

10/20/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The moon is full, candy bags are empty, and children are dressed as their favorite fictional characters - eager to celebrate the centuries-old tradition of Halloween.

Between the hours of 5 and 8 p.m. Halloween night, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson's Pumpkin Patrol will be out in the housing communities ensuring residents, parents and children are safe.

"Our mission for Pumpkin Patrol is to facilitate safe pedestrian travel, provide traffic assistance and emergency response, and foster community relations to ensure every one has a safe and fun Halloween night in the housing communities," Pella said. "If anyone sees any suspicious activity or has an emergency during Halloween or at anytime, they should find one of us during the patrol or contact the Base Defense Operations Center at 552-8550 or 552-3421."

During Halloween, children age 11 and under must be accompanied by another person at least 12 years of age or older, or by an adult, said Air Force Staff Sgt. Carl Pella, 673d Security Forces Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of corrections. Trick-or-treaters should use flashlights, wear proper reflective equipment and warm clothing, he said.

"Even with proper reflective gear, running from house to house, walking diagonally across the road or out from between parked vehicles is very dangerous, and parents and children should be aware of their surroundings," said Mike Lundvall, 673d Ground Safety Office administrator.

Pella added drivers should be extremely cautious of children in housing areas and keep their speed limited to 15 miles per hour.

Before leaving home, individuals should make a cautious decision with their costume of choice for the night.

"Costumes should allow the person wearing them to see properly and should not drag on the ground to prevent trips or falls," Lundvall said.

Not only are costumes a part of being safe while trick-or-treating, but safely using proper crosswalks while walking between streets can make the nighttime hunt for candy safer.

During trick-or-treating hours, JBER residents should leave their porch lights on to let children know where to get their candy.

If parents have a concern with the candy their children receive, the Air Mobility Command Passenger Terminal will X-ray candy on Halloween night. For any questions or concerns about the PAX terminal X-raying candy, contact them at 552-3782.

Lundvall said people should walk in groups and be beware of animals, such as resident animals or moose searching for pumpkins to snack on. He also recommends residents keep an eye on candles burning in their pumpkins, as they are a hazard and can possibly start a fire.

"We recommend residents use artificial pumpkins; that way it is less of a hazard to the children and parents having their fun on Halloween night," said Mark Sledge, 673d Civil Engineer Squadron Conservation Law Enforcement officer on JBER.

Within two weeks after Halloween, all JBER residents must take down holiday decorations, and remove all pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns immediately after the hours of trick-or-treating.

Leftover decorations could become a free meal for animals, which is not safe for residents or wildlife.

There can be a hefty fine for the individual accused of negligently feeding wildlife in Alaska, Sledge said.

According to Alaska State Law 92.230, a person may not negligently feed moose, bear, other wildlife, or leave human food, animal food or garbage in a manner that attracts animals.

For further information about trick-or-treating safety on JBER, contact the safety office at 552-6850, the Wildlife Conservation office at 552-8609, Aurora Housing at (907) 753-1023 or (907) 375-5515, or the 673d SFS at 552-5345 or 552-2132.

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