By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Motorists travelling along 100 Avenue can expect a momentary delay and a candy cane this Friday. The Town of Morinville will be bringing together emergency service professionals for a Candy Cane Check Stop from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 21 in front of Town Hall.
David Schaefer, Morinville’s Director of Corporate Operations, said the event is an opportunity for all emergency services to be out on the street passing out candy canes and passing on the message that Christmas season is one of those times people need to pre-plan, especially around drinking but also around road conditions and home safety. “It’s an opportunity to see that there are real people behind those emergency services that are out there,” Schaefer said, adding the event will be attended by RCMP, Community Peace Officers, EMTs, and Morinville Fire Department members. “You get that visual [in the day time]. In the evening it’s that yellow, red or white stripe, depending on the service.”
Community Peace Officer Sergeant James Alaeddine is Morinville’s Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) representative and the organization is supporting the event. Schaefer said the candy canes being handed out would have the MADD ribbon affixed to them, a symbol reminding motorists there is an impact on those affected by impaired driving. It is a message the Town is hoping to get to as many people as possible.
“There should be enough [emergency] services [personnel] there that day to stop traffic in both directions,” Schaefer said, noting the stoppage will be minimal unless there is a need to actually deal with an impaired driver. “One of the things I’ve learned about traffic safety [at] these static stops is it is amazing the things that pop up out of it that you didn’t expect. Hopefully, touch wood, we don’t have it, but if a drunk person happens to come along it will be dealt with.”
Although the candy canes are intended to remind motorists of the dangers of impaired driving, Schaefer said the presence of all facets of emergency service is intended to send the other safety messages of Christmas: fire hazards with lights, not leaving valuables unattended in vehicles, and having one’s house checked on while away.
The educational initiative is part of the Town of Morinville’s broader work on traffic and pedestrian safety.