First responders prep for Mardi Gras

With the start of Mobile’s Mardi Gras just two days away, the Port City is ready for celebration in the streets. Even though catching candy, beads, and moonpies is all part of the fun, safety remains to be a number one priority.

The Mobile Fire-Rescue Department is ensuring that. On Wednesday, FOX10 News had an exclusive look inside its command center and what equipment the men and women will be using in the next few weeks to protect the citizens of Mobile.

“We’re there to provide any medical assistance that may be required,” said Steve Huffman with the Mobile Fire-Rescue Department. Huffman said it is important to know your surroundings at the parades.

“A lot of times what we see is injuries to ankles and hands where they’re reaching out to grab something or stepping off of curbs,” said Huffman.

Huffman said increased presence on the streets during the parade will allow for help if needed.

“We’ll have several teams that’s made up of two people. One is a paramedic and one is an EMT…There’s a rescue truck strategically placed on each end of the route…there are three or four bike teams on the route and then there’s roaming teams that ride the entire route,” said Huffman.

“We have 16 bikes that are ALS and BLS capable. Our teams respond in a EMT/Paramedic configuration and on these teams they have advanced life support equipment as well as basic equipment to control bleeding, opening airways, performing CPR. All of our teams that respond, whether it’s a bike team or mini ambulance/golf carts, they call carry automatic external defibrillators,” said Captain Shaun Hicks.

Captain Hicks and his colleague Captain Brian Gilliland are in charge of EMS coverage. For the past several weeks, their preparation for Mardi Gras have been extensive making sure every bag is packed and every bike is ready to roll.

Also rolling through the streets: the Mobile Police Department. Officer Terence Perkins told FOX10 News it is important to be mindful of certain things during the Mardi Gras season including parking in lit areas and walking in packs to and from your destination.

One safety hazard Officer Perkins said is a problem each year: jumping over the barricades. If you do so, and get caught, you are subject to pay a $238 fine.

A safety tip for parents: give your child an emergency identification card with contact numbers, just in case there are any cases of ‘lost parents.’

Mardi Gras is all about having a good time. If you plan on drinking downtown, you can do that, but you are asked to abide by the rule of ‘no glass containers.

“We will have uniform and plain officers, mounted patrols, officers on segways and those officers will be spot checking for any underage drinking and different things like that. Anytime we have a large crowd downtown, we are concerned with the underage drinking and we do have special teams that will go out and monitor those things for us,” said Perkins.

Officer Perkins also said alcohol is prohibited on Church Street. That area is deemed a ‘family friendly’ area.

If you need assistance during Mardi Gras, whether medical or safety related, contact a uniformed first responder. Both Mobile Fire-Rescue and Mobile Police Department communicate with each other during the parades.

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