Local and University groups are working to make this year’s Homegrown Halloween celebration the safest yet.
Reported alcohol-related incidents stood at 31 in 2007, the year before the town began its initiative to reduce crowd size and improve safety. Last year, they had declined to six, based on Chapel Hill statistics.
But the numbers haven’t shown as dramatic of a decline per capita — and readiness and prevention remain priorities. In 2007, 80,000 people came out to Franklin, and .04 percent of that number were seen for alcohol-related issues. The percentage fell to .02 percent of 35,000 by last year.
So while about one-fifth as many people were seen for alcohol concerns in 2010 as in 2007, when taken as a percentage of the crowd, the number stands at about half the previous incidence rate.
Kim Woodward, operations manager of Orange County Emergency Medical Services, said she is still cautiously preparing.
“One year does not a trend make,” she said. “We’re at the same level of planning as last year.”
To prepare for the crowds, Woodward said EMS increases staff by at least 40 people and conducts special training. She said EMS will also have an on-campus treatment center, Gator vehicles and Polaris vehicles outfitted with stretchers.
Allen O’Barr, the director of counseling and wellness services at UNC, said in an email that Campus Health plans to set up a triage tent on Franklin Street.
And Richard Bradley, an assistant director for Housing and Residential Education at UNC, said each residential community offers alternatives to Franklin.
He said staff put up posters to encourage students who drink to do so in moderation, and UNC Student Affairs volunteers will be stationed around campus to help keep students safe.
Junior Christine Archuleta said the push for alcohol safety won’t impact her celebrations.
“I don’t think you need lots of alcohol to make Franklin Street fun.”
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