Community Safety: How to be a Block Parent

This week is National Block Parent Week in Canada, and it marks 47 years of this amazing network of volunteers helping with community safety.

As the longest running safety program in Canada, our easily recognizable sign, with its red and white logo, symbolizes the safety and security over 25,000 volunteers provide to those in need.  It also symbolizes the close relationship our volunteers have with police and educators to provide this immediate assistance. [Block Parents Canada]

If you’re unfamiliar with the Block Parent program, you may be familiar with the trademark window sign that all Block Parents have—red and white and indicates someone over the age of 18 is available to answer the door for help. Block Parents are responsible adults, who volunteer their homes as temporary refuges in the event of an emergency. All Block Parents are vetted by local police, and trained to deal with emergency situations.

In addition to being a safe space for children, simply the presence of a Block Parent sign in a home’s window, gives a visible reminder to people that citizens are watchful of their neighbourhood.

When a child is in a dangerous or frightening situation, they can call upon a Block Parent, some situations could be:

  • Bullying
  • Lost, hurt or ill
  • Caught in severe weather
  • Frightened by a stranger or potential predator

For information on your local Block Parent chapter or to find out about becoming a block parent home or business, you can check out the Alberta Block Parents website.

Because of the timing of National Block Parent Week this year, the awareness initiative is also bringing awareness to Halloween safety for trick-or-treaters. Here’s some of our tips for keeping kids safe during Halloween fun tomorrow:

  • Use LED lights in pumpkins: opting out of traditional candles in your jack-o-lanterns will cut down fire risk.
  • Keep walkways and doorways lit: you want to ensure those trick-or-treaters can see where they are walking.
  • Talk to your kids about safety: if you have kids going out without you, ensure they are aware of emergency numbers, and that they carry a flashlight and whistle.
  • Avoid dressing children in masks: anything that can hamper your child’s ability to see could be dangerous.
  • Check treats for tampering: ensure your kids only take treats that are safely sealed, avoid things like open candies or baked treats, etc.
  • Clear your walkways: proper landscaping and cleanliness will really come in handy in ensuring your visitors can safely and easily get to your door.

For our full list of safety tips for Halloween, check out our blog. If you’re a Block Parent in your community, we’d love for you to send us a photo of your sign, so share with us on Twitter. Stay safe tomorrow, and have a happy Halloween!