2017 is almost over, but we still have one more holiday weekend before the new year starts.
Before you venture out for your parties, parades, and fireworks shows, though, the Philadelphia Police Department, Philadelphia Fire Department, and Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management have a few tips you should read.
Let’s keep the festivities fun and, more importantly, safe!
Philadelphia, like any city, has a high population density and being a good neighbor is important. Basically, sparklers are OK, but leave everything else to the professionals, folks. The City urges all residents to take part in safe, legal public displays like along the Delaware River on New Year’s Eve. As always, shooting guns into the air as a form of “celebratory gunfire” can have deadly consequences, and the Philadelphia Police Department will have zero tolerance for any individuals who take part in the dangerous, illegal activity.
This year, forecasters predict extremely cold temperatures before and during New Year’s, so it’s important for Philadelphians to take precautions — especially if they’ll be outside for awhile like during the Mummer’s Parade. OEM advises residents to check the weather before they head out and to cover as much skin as possible if spending any time outdoors. The City has tips online for staying warm and preventing frostbite and hypothermia, too. A Code Blue is currently in effect through the holiday weekend as well; the City is taking special measures to keep homeless Philadelphians safe. You can request street outreach by calling 215-232-1984 anytime.
Philadelphians should take public transit instead of driving on New Year’s Eve and Day. SEPTA has special New Year’s transit information, including detours around the Mummer’s Parade. As always, drunk driving is both deadly and against the law, and the Philadelphia Police Department will be on patrol to ensure public safety during the holiday.
If you’re cooking, the Philadelphia Fire Department reminds you to never leave the kitchen while cooking on the stove top. If you have guests over who smoke, ask them to take it outside to avoid fire hazards, and provide outdoor smokers with large, deep ashtrays and thoroughly wet the butts with water before discarding them.
Lights and candles
Be sure to turn off all lights, like Christmas tree lights, before you leave the house. Never leave light displays or lit candles unattended. Likewise, if you have lit candles in your home, always keep them away from pets and children and extinguish the candles before you leave the house. Still have your tree up? The Fire Department has additional important safety information online for you, too.
If you’re heading to large group settings, like fireworks displays, pack your bags and bring bottles of water. You can become dehydrated even in colder weather, and access to liquids can sometimes be limited at events. Take notice of your surroundings and identify exits. If you’re with friends or family, agree on a meet-up location at a landmark in case you get separated.
If you’re a parent taking your children to a crowded location to celebrate the new year, OEM advises that you should prioritize visibility and contact information. Be sure to have your child wear bright colors or provide them with glow bracelets or like accessories available in most dollar stores. Write your contact information on their hand or on a paper in their pocket and discuss a meeting place with your child should you get separated. Taking a selfie with your child before you head out is a great idea; that way, you have an updated picture that includes your child’s current outfit. Posting the selfie on social media ensures the photo is available in case your battery dies, too.
During extreme cold, like during Code Blue, it is against City ordinance to leave pets outside. Neighbors who suspect violations should call ACCT Philly at 267-385-3800. Large crowds and fireworks are no fun for pets, so be sure to keep your furry friend at home if you’re venturing out. If your house is near fireworks, find a safe, comforting room for your pets and provide familiar items, like their favorite toys or trees.