West Hollywood’s annual Halloween Carnaval attracts hundreds of thousands of people every year. (Jon Viscott / City of West Hollywood)
by Maria Grycan
For the 29th consecutive year, the city of West Hollywood hosted its Halloween Carnaval event, widely recognized as the world’s largest Halloween party! This year’s Carnaval featured a Disco theme, with five stages and DJs strategically placed along a one-mile stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard.
Nearly 80 firefighters were assigned to this event, with most of them staged in various locations along the boulevard, allowing them to respond quickly to those in need close by. Sheriff’s deputies were staged with our firefighters to further ensure safety, and more than 500 additional deputies were roaming through the crowds all night long.
With a crowd estimated at anywhere from 350,000 to 500,000 people, the majority of whom are elaborately costumed, this event can present various challenges to both firefighters and law enforcement. Months of pre-planning, with the Fire Department working side-by-side with the city of West Hollywood’s Public Safety Department, West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, and the Sheriff’s Emergency Operations Bureau, ensured that public safety remained the top priority for these partygoers.
New to the event this year was the use of medical tents to which patients were transported. The doctors and staff at the tents were capable of treating an assortment of ailments or determining if the patient needed to be transported to a nearby hospital. These tents proved to be a great asset during the evening, drastically reducing the number of patients who would otherwise have been sent directly to a hospital.
By the time the streets were cleared at nearly 4 a.m., firefighters had responded to 65 calls, with the medical tents receiving a majority of these patients. A total of only 13 patients needed hospital care; this represents a more than 50 percent reduction over the years in the number of hospital transports.
This event is now in the books, but before you know it, we’ll start planning for 2017!