Halloween night can be busy for emergency crews - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Halloween night can be busy for emergency crews

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- Halloween night is here, and emergency crews across the Columbia Basin and the Yakima Valley are on high alert.

Halloween is the one time of year when everyone can play make believe, but police and firefighters say the danger tonight can bring is no laughing matter. 

"The #1 concern of course is pedestrian and vehicular traffic mixing. And heaven forbid we have a serious accident involving a child," said Lt. Mike Merryman with YPD.

Police say traditionally they do see an increase in calls, mostly nuisance and noise complaints, but there is a high possibility that accidents can happen.

"What we're cautioning folks about is to just be aware. Obviously it's Halloween, there'll be a lot of kids out running about on foot," said Lt. Merryman.

Something that's a concern for both police and fire are masks. They limit a child's ability to see making them more likely to get into an accident.

"There's just the possibility of kids running out in the middle of the streets trying to get across the street to get to that neighbors door where their candy is," said Capt. Brandon Dorenbush with Yakima Fire.

"Bottom line, if you don't need to be out running errands at that 5, 5:30 to 9 o'clock time, I'd just stay home and hand out candy," said Lt. Merryman.

But emergency rooms in Yakima say things have changed over the years. They're not seeing those dramatic spikes in numbers on Halloween night.

"Education has been helpful in reducing the number of visits we see. So it's important that children and parents get out early, do their trick or treating early," said Dr. Larry O. Smith, an ER physician with Yakima Regional Medical and Cardiac Center.

"A lot of times people will take their kids to areas that are well lit. There's a lot of preventative measures already taking place," said Capt. Dorenbush.

And they say parents need to play a big role. Watch where your kids go, monitor what they're wearing, and hopefully it'll be a safe, fun-filled night for everyone.

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