Prevent Halloween Hazards
Years ago, the United Nations Children’s Fund identified Halloween as a prime opportunity to engage children in collecting small change door-to-door in what became known as "trick-or-treat for UNICEF." Similarly, the fire service has piggy-backed on the switch to change our clocks from daylight savings to standard time to remind consumers to change the batteries in their smoke alarms.
Halloween is a great time to promote your EMS service, too, especially if you focus on topics naturally associated with Halloween, such as preventing burns from candles and jack-o-lanterns and making sure kids (and adults!) indulge in moderation when eating from their trick-or-treat bags. Consider these activities:
Host a touch-a-truck event called Truck-or-Treat
Invite families to the station for supervised pumpkin carving and tips on safely using carving tools and candles in their Halloween displays
Partner with a chimney sweep and the local fire department to check fireplace ventilation in neighborhood homes
If burn prevention is your focus for October, work hand-in-hand with your local fire prevention officer. For a more obesity-minded message, reach out to local pediatricians. Poison control also has been involved in trick-or-treat safety in many communities and may be interested in a partnership. Shopping malls may want to work with you on events that offer alternatives to traditional Halloween night activities. Finally, check out the touch-a-truck tips. Events involving large vehicles offer more opportunities to partner with local businesses. Fire prevention resources can be found online at www.nfpa.org and www.firepreventionweek.org.
How to Host a Truck-or-Treat Event
Children, particularly pre-schoolers, love trucks, ambulances, fire engines and other vehicles that perform a service. Here are some tips on how to host a Truck-or-Treat event.
Identify a strategic location, such as a city or township park, and get permits, if necessary.
Invite municipal departments and private companies with interesting large vehicles to join you and your ambulance for the event. Cool trucks include fire vehicles, earth movers, dump trucks, cement mixers, and trucks with birds¡¦ nest baskets.
Ask vehicle owner/operators to have their vehicles washed, dried and polished, if possible.
Contact concessionaires and invite them to set up their concession stands at the event, or do it yourself as a way to raise money.
Coordinate activities with the local school districts and service agencies and allow them to put up tables for information and fund-raising.
Contact local media. Remember the who, what, why, when and where rule when giving information to the media.
Don¡¦t forget: Touch-a-Truck events are popular yearround and may work best when the weather is warm. Plan your event accordingly.