Officials are keeping an eye on the weather for Silver Bells in the City

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Those who attended Silver Bells last year probably remember the strong winds and heavy rain that forced officials to cancel the parade, but this year if it pours again, they’re ready.

“It was about 7:15pm, 7:20pm that the rain started and it was about 3 or 4 minutes after that the heavy winds kicked in with the lightening and that was the point where we had to shut everything down,” says Chief of the Emergency Management Division at the Lansing Fire Department, Mike Tobin.

Tobin says during last year’s Silver Bells celebration, crews had about a 15-minute warning before the wind picked up and the rain came pouring down.

Tobin says as thousands quickly rushed out of the downtown area, many started to cut through the parade route causing officers to worry someone might get hurt.

“That was the safety concern that we had to address initially,” says Tobin.

Because of that, Tobin says emergency crews met several times over the last year to talk about what went well and what could have been done better.

He says one of the biggest issues was communication.

“When we did shut the parade down because of weather and safety concerns, we didn’t have a means to communicate with the people, but we have that means this year,” says Tobin.

Tobin says the county has since implemented the Capital Area Alert Network, a way to provide the public with alerts via phone or email during emergency situations.

On top of that, he says all parade participants will also have a plan and know where to go if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

“If something happens and you’re notified by the route marshal that you need to return to staging, if you’re in this section you go this way if you’re in this section you go this way, and we have pre-established routes to get them back quickly and safely,” says Tobin.

If you’re headed downtown Friday evening, you can also sign up to receive alerts specifically for Silver Bells.You can text “SilverBells” all one word to 888-777.

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