Philadelphia awaits in eager anticipation as Pope Francis is scheduled to make a two day visit to Philadelphia on September 25th 2015. Homeland Security and our local agencies are working hard to ensure that safety precautions are in place to reduce every risk possible. However, with an estimated 1.5 million plus people expected to attend these appearances, it calls for intense security planning by agencies such as the Secret Service.
According to an article written in Philly.com, Philadelphia’s protective security adviser, William Ryan, started preparing for the event taking place September 26 and 27 by screening employees, searching for hazardous materials, examining building exits, and planning training seminars for law enforcement.
Safety is of course everyone’s top priority and we can all do our part to contribute in that effort. As parking, transit, and even just getting around will be extremely complicated during the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia, we have outlined a few tips below to help you prepare for the event.
The Itinerary for Pope Francis‘ visit includes several different events planned in the city throughout the two day visit.
Transportation issues will cause problems for those that do not plan ahead. Traffic will be restricted to safely and efficiently accommodate 1.5 million visitors.
The Ben Franklin Bridge is going to be closed during the visit, as well as some major highways in the area and many of the inner city streets.
• The Ben Franklin bridge will also close to vehicular traffic on Friday, September 25th at 10 p.m. until 12 p.m. on Monday, September 28th. The only vehicles allowed will be emergency vehicles.
• The bridge will be used as a pedestrian crossing.
Mass transit is not going to run in certain areas during the visit, and private vehicles are going to be restricted to designated traffic boxes. Bicycles will be permitted to travel within the box as well, but they must stay outside of areas that are fenced off.
For more Transportation and Travel Information:
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDot)
Philadelphia International Airport
While everyone anticipates a safe and exciting event, there can be risks when attending any event that draws in a large crowd. This is especially true during an event such as this that could draw hundreds of thousands and possibly over a million visitors to one area. As long as you understand the importance of awareness, you should be able to avoid minimize risks and understand where to get help when needed.
Prepare for this moment by educating your children about their potential surroundings and handling personal safety. They are at the highest risk of becoming lost and confused in large crowds, but preparedness is the key to avoiding vulnerability.
Getting around the city in an emergency has a lot of locals concerned with getting the help they need.
Expectant mothers that could deliver during the weekend should plan routes to hospitals outside the traffic box, unless they plan to attend public events. If this is the case, it is best to locate a hospital that is easy to access near the area.
Always plan for the unexpected and keep a copy of your medical records nearby to provide if you cannot make it to the intended medical facility.
If You See Something, Say Something is a very effective concept and campaign that can potentially save lives by preventing crime and terrorism. Anytime you witness any unusual activity or a person acting suspiciously, you are urged to report it.
Be aware of the behaviors of suspicious persons and do not hesitate to alert the police of suspicious items that seem out of place or left behind.
If you do see something suspicious:
• Take note of the location of the unattended package
• Be able to provide a description of any potential persons involved
• Avoid approaching persons who appear outwardly dangerous or threatening
• Refrain from using any cellular or radio device within 50 feet of a suspicious item
Philadelphia Police Department
Philadelphia Fire Department
Regional EMS Office
United States Secret Service
The Pope’s Visit is an awesome event for the Delaware Valley and we look forward to having you visit our city for this momentous occasion. Above all else the team here at Lundy Law want to make sure that you and your loved ones are safe. We are all responsible for doing our part to plan ahead and remain aware of our surroundings throughout the weekend. For more information about the Pope’s visit check out:
Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, City of Philadelphia
Desiree Peterkin Bell
City Representative and Director of Communications, City of Philadelphia
Director of Emergency Management, City of Philadelphia
Deputy Managing Director and Director of Operations for Special Events, City of Philadelphia
Chief Inspector, Philadelphia Police Department