IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - The Idaho Falls Fire Department, Police Department, Chamber of Commerce and the City of Idaho Falls said they have a incident prevention plan for the annual Fourth of July Melaleuca Freedom Celebration.
Idaho Falls Fire Department Captain Eric Day is in charge of celebration mitigation efforts and said the town has learned from past tragedies, including last years drowning. During the fireworks show a man tried to swim across the Snake River to Keefer's Island.
"We've learned from multiple events that have involved the Fourth of July, and that's helped us to reach this point," said Day.
Day said the city's population usually doubles. He said that many people in such a small area can prevent emergency responders from acting quickly.
"That many people looking for information bogged down our communication system (last year) and made 911 response ineffective," he said. "With that many people around the river it has also made it hard to get full-sized vehicles up and down the road quickly."
This year officials will use 700 megahertz frequency radios, along with state event radio channels. The fire department will also use its new mini ambulance to move emergency treatment through crowds quickly.
In addition to emergency prevention methods, the Idaho Falls Police Department will manage security and traffic flow to and from the celebration. E street will become a one-way street going eastbound. Yellowstone Hwy will only travel northbound from Broadway Street. All fire lanes will be off limits for parking and boating on the river is off limits. Sgt. David Frei said all emergency and law enforcement agencies have been working closely to make sure all goes smoothly this year.
"We share the same vision and that is to be safe, or as safe as possible. If something goes wrong we're able to work as a team and respond to it in the most efficient way that we can," said Frei.