By SrA Christopher Stoltz, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Public Affairs
Children are four times more likely to be injured or killed by a vehicle on Halloween, compared to the rest of the year, according to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is why the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) Pumpkin Patrol, led by JBPHH Security Forces, plays a critical role in the community.
Created more than 10 years ago, the local pumpkin patrol program was developed by the JBPHH Security Department to ensure the safety of the children out “trick-or-treating” in installation housing. Every year, security forces units, along with volunteers, cover multiple areas deemed “high traffic.” This includes: Makalapa compound housing, Hickam housing and Ford Island officer, senior enlisted and junior enlisted housing.
“The annual pumpkin patrol is an amazing effort by our joint base security department,” said Chief Master Sgt. Charles Orf, 647th Air Base Group superintendent. “The department and the additional volunteers do a great job of helping provide a safe trick-or-treat environment for our children.”
Orf said a part of the environment on base that many do not think about is base housing.
“Some of the areas in the base housing are pretty crowded,” he said. “Many of the areas in between the homes and the roads that often go between the housing units aren’t the most well-lit. This makes it harder to see parents and their children at night, especially if they are wearing darker costumes.”
“Having the extra patrol members helps alleviate some of these issues by informing people and redirecting them to a safer path, along with keeping an eye out for motor vehicles,” Orf said.
One way to stay safe this Halloween is to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “safe Halloween” tips:
- Swords, knives and other costume accessories should be short, soft and flexible.
- Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
- Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
- Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.
- Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. Always walk and don’t run from house to house.
- Always test makeup in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.
- Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.
- Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.
- Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
- Wear well-fitting masks, costumes and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls.
- Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
- Enter homes only if you are with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Never accept rides from strangers.
- Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/family/Halloween.