Halloween Safety Interview with Saanich Police Community Liaison Sgt. Alan Gurzinski
Sgt. Alan Gurzinski father of four has seen his fair share of Halloween, both as a father and as a police officer. It was a privilege to sit down with him and get some insights on how to have a safe and enjoyable Halloween.
What will you be doing for Halloween? I will be going out trick-or-treating with my 11 year old triplets, two of which will be princesses, and one will be a zombie clown gorilla. I will just be wearing some ugly teeth. They already have the trick-or-treating routes mapped out, so it should be a lot of fun.
What is your favorite Halloween candy? Chocolate! Preferably in bulk.
What will Saanich Police be doing for Halloween? A Block Watch Bulletin has been sent out to our Block Watch Partners, outlining Halloween safety. Also there will be three times the police presence, which started last weekend, and includes both police officers and volunteer members of the Saanich Police Reserves.
Do you have any tips for keeping our little ones and big ones safe this Halloween? Wear light coloured, flame resistant costumes, with reflective strips for added visibility. Also make sure that the costume is short enough to avoid tripping. Use face paint instead of masks to achieve maximum visibility by your child.
When trick-or-treating, older children trick-or –treating on their own should plan a route and share it with their parents. They should also travel in groups of 4 or 5. Younger children should always be accompanied by an adult. Lastly, it is important to use the sidewalks. I recommend going to all the houses on one side of the street before crossing at an intersection or crosswalk and then going to the houses on the other side of the street. This decreases the number of times you need to cross the road, and therefore decreases the likelihood of being hit by a passing motorist.
What should I tell my child to do if they get lost or separated from me or their group? It is important to plan ahead for this. Make sure both you and your child know the route you plan to take and tell them if they get separated to stand at the end of the driveway of the house you were last together at. If they are frightened they can also look for an adult with a bunch of kids, because this is most likely a safe adult and they will be able to help. Block parent houses are also available in some neighborhoods as a safe place to go.
Many parents are worried about candies their children are given being dangerous. What advice can you offer parents? A fairly small percentage of Halloween candy has the chance of being tainted, however to avoid any chance of your child eating anything that might cause them harm all candy should be checked before consumption and anything not bagged and sealed should be tossed.
Do you have any other tips for parents? I recommend giving your child a flash light , only going to homes with porch lights on, and keeping pets inside.
More information on how to stay visible, now that the days are getting shorter, can be found in Saanich Police’s Reflectivity Campaign.