Emergency responders give inside look at security measures to keep parades safe

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Streets in downtown Baton Rouge were packed Saturday for the Krewe of Mystique and Krewe of Artemis parades and, of course, with big crowds comes a concern for safety.

Emergency responders provided a look inside the security measures they take to keep the parade fun rolling smoothly.

When you're a parade goer during Carnival Season, there are only a few things on your mind - catching beads and listening to the bands march by or maybe the pipes. But what you may not see are the hundreds working behind the scenes to keep everyone safe.

Brad Harris, an EMS unit commander, said protecting huge crowds takes a lot of manpower. EMS uses bike teams loaded with gear, like blood pressure cuffs and IV supplies. Crews also have the EMS cart, which is basically a mini ambulance, to easily move in the crowd and act fast if necessary.

The Baton Rouge Police Department is also ready to respond. There are officers in plain clothes, on motorcycles and even riding horses.

"It puts us about eight, eight-and-a-half feet in the air," one officer said.

"Mainly here for crowd control," Sgt. L'Jean McKneely added. "We see anything that occurs. We can get in there quick and disperse a crowd quickly because of their size."

Emergency responders said the most important thing when dealing with crowds is making sure everyone is calm and stays aware of their surroundings. It's a simple formula to make for a quiet and safe parade evening.

Here's a tip for anyone going to a future parade. Anyone who sees a first responder rushing to help someone while the parade is rolling through should move over as quickly as possible. It will help crews get to the person in need.

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