Finalizing parade safety plans in Holyoke - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Finalizing parade safety plans in Holyoke

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

The Holyoke’s Saint Patrick’s Day weekend has been a staple in the Pioneer Valley for decades.

Today, organizers fine-tuned their safety plans ahead of the festivities.

With Saint Patrick’s Day weekend right around the corner, safety is a top priority for an event of this scale.

Race Director of Operation, Jim Wildman, told us safety is paramount.

The Holyoke Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and Road Race is a time-stamped tradition, drawing in huge crowds clad in Kelly green.

“We have over 500,000 people that come in to the city for the weekend. We have to make sure that it’s safe for everyone,” Kathleen Krisak, Parade Chief of Staff, said.

With a wee bit of Irish luck and a lot of planning, the events should go off without a hitch.

But organizers told us that making sure security plans stay in order is key.

Today, safety personnel and organizers went over the game plan.

“We have to have good coordination of police, fire, emergency vehicles, hospital, Holyoke Medical Center, which is right in the middle of the parade,” Krisak said.

This weekend’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Hartford will be under close surveillance after a threat made against the parade surfaced on social media.

While the threat was deemed non-credible, safety remains a chief priority. 

Leaders in Western Massachusetts agree.

Rock Thibeault from Action Ambulance coordinates the EMS efforts.

“When we have events like this we have to double up because the volume can increase at any moment. In which case, having trucks in place is really important,” Thibeault said. “We’ll be staffing trucks throughout the parade route and along the perimeter of the city for the 911 side of the actual events.”

Organizers remain confident that they have the manpower to ensure everything goes smoothly.

“We’re ready. The city of Holyoke will be ready,” Wildman said.

Organizers remind participants to report any suspicious activity to police.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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