Police, fire officials stress Halloween safety

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.com
843-706-8152
October 28, 2012 

Police officials are urging parents and children to wear light or reflective clothing and be aware of drivers while trick-or-treating Wednesday as public safety agencies gear up for Halloween. Though no Beaufort County law enforcement agencies have special enforcement plans for Halloween, officials said officers will be on patrol in residential areas and stressed common sense for both parents and trick-or-treaters.

“Trick-or-treat in your neighborhood or a neighborhood you are familiar with,” Port Royal Deputy Police Chief Ron Wekenmann said. “Never trick-or-treat alone and make sure you go with a group of friends or ask your parents and older sisters or brothers to go with you.”

Officers also will be on the lookout for would-be mischief makers, Wekenmann said. “Vandalism is not cool, throwing eggs or toilet paper just makes a terrible mess of your neighborhood,” he said.

Local departments have not set a time for trick-or-treating and urge parents to use common sense when taking their children out Wednesday night.

Police also asked drivers to look out for trick-or-treaters in residential areas where lots of costumed children are making the rounds.

"Drivers should expect more pedestrians walking in or around the roadway," said Cpl. Bob Beres, spokesman for the S.C. Highway Patrol. "Pedestrians should wear some type of reflective material or light-colored clothing so drivers can identify those walking close to the road. When vehicles and pedestrians are close to each other, don't assume they see one another. Drivers and pedestrians should try and make eye contact."

Golf carts have been a problem for local law enforcement on Halloweens past, and officials urged owners to leave them in the garage Wednesday night.

“It is not legal to operate golf carts on the road after dark,” Beaufort Police Chief Matt Clancy said. “Many people seem to bring them out on Halloween.”

State law allows golf carts on state secondary roads where the speed limit is lower than 35 mph but only during daylight hours.

Local fire officials also asked local residents to be mindful of jack-o’-lanterns and other Halloween decorations that fuel more than 1,000 house fires a year, many of which were preventful.

Parents should not overload electrical outlets with lights and appliances or leave lit candles unattended. Fire officials also recommend replacing traditional candles inside jack-o'-lanterns with battery-operated lights.

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