Emergency Officials Preach Vigilance While Celebrating

With families traveling for Thanksgiving and gearing up for Black Friday, local police and fire officials are bracing themselves for one of the busiest – and potentially dangerous – times of the year.

According to John Bentley, chief of police of Lakewood-Busti Police Department, commercial theft and drunk driving are typically the most rampant crimes of the holiday.

“There will be a substantial amount of theft,” said Bentley, whose jurisdiction includes the Chautauqua Mall and the Wal-Mart Supercenter on Fairmount Avenue.

“(As a result) we keep in close contact with store security officers … and if there is a problem or anything suspicious, they can contact us quickly,” Bentley continued.

Since alcohol is likely the beverage of choice for many during the holiday, the Jamestown Police Department and Lakewood-Busti Police Department plan on being extremely vigilant of drunk drivers, with the latter considering an increase in its road patrols between today and Sunday, depending on manpower availability.

“(Thanksgiving night) is the biggest drinking night of the year,” Bentley said. “It will really be busy for us.”

To top things off, there is also the winter storm, which can potentially wreak havoc on holiday travelers.

“I’m sure we’ll have a lot of (weather-related) accidents,” Bentley said. “Drivers should give themselves enough time to (reach their destinations so they’re not rushing under severe weather conditions).”

Finally, to those enthusiastic Black Friday shoppers, Bentley advises to “keep cool” above all, and avoid any unnecessary altercations.

FIRE SAFETY

Fire safety – in much the same way – also demands a level of prudence, particularly when cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

“If deep frying your turkey, make sure that the turkey is properly defrosted and that you only attempt the frying outside and away from combustibles,” said Shawn Tibbitts, fire prevention officer with the Jamestown Fire Dept. “Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions for your specific deep fryer.”

Tibbitts also advises that food being cooked on stove tops be checked frequently, and that children are kept away from knives, candles and hot food or liquids that could potentially splash and cause burns.

“If you keep these tips in mind, you’re sure to have a happy and safe holiday season,” Tibbitts said.