OU And Athens Leaders Plan To Make Block Party Safe

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In advance of the yearly Halloween block party this Saturday night on Court Street, Ohio University and city of Athens leaders are working on new strategies to help keep party-goers safe.

The university concentrates on helping students and their guests around campus.

Dean of Students Jenny Hall-Jones says one new thing Athens will have this year is an information station.

Hall-Jones says the tent will be set up outside of the Athens City Building on West Washington Street.

"If somebody gets lost, especially out-of-towners, like they have no idea where they are and they're supposed to get to a house on Mill Street, or if a friend has been arrested and taken away and they are trying to figure out where their arrested friend is, instead of people flooding into the police stations they have this kind of information station," says Hall-Jones.

There will be volunteers in the tent from the city and from the university available to answer any questions.

Hall-Jones also says to be aware of the spotty cell phone reception on campus with the influx of out-of-towners.

"One of the things that I try and get out there is not to always rely on your cell phone because you might not be able to get through and text messages might not be able to get through," says Hall-Jones.

She says to plan a meeting time and place at a well-known landmark on campus, such as the University Gateway.

On the city side of planning, Athens Deputy Service-Safety Director Ron Lucas is looking for volunteers to supervise Court, Mill, Congress and High Streets.

Lucas says the Safety Team isn't looking to "bust" anyone or get them in trouble, they mainly just give directions.

"One of the primary things that the safety teams do is to get people from point A to point B because there is a lot of people who get lost," says Lucas.

The Safety Team will have at least one volunteer on each team trained in first-aid to assist students.

Lucas says to travel with a group and to make sure your guest knows your address.

"When you come into town know where you're staying, know how to get to that place from the Uptown area, so that when you do go off on your own or with a group you aren't lost when you're trying to get back," says Lucas.

He says there are multiple tips the Safety Team tries to share with students on campus.

One tip is to be careful of your costume selection because it is illegal to imitate a police officer.

Lucas also says not to carry open containers and make sure your costume does not include a fake weapon.

Hall-Jones says that if a student needs help during the block party they should locate a university volunteer in a green jacket or a city volunteer in a white jacket.

She says the university will continue to reinforce the same message every year.

"Bobcats take care of each other, watch out for each other. Be smart, be safe, be civil. You know, its still kind of the mantra I think we would put out there," says Hall-Jones.