TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — First responders in Tampa Bay will undergo training ahead of this month’s Gasparilla festivities, which are expected to draw thousands of people to downtown Tampa this month.
There are concerns about public safety. This year’s Gasparilla will be the first major event for Interim Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercaw since he took office in December.
Police and other first responders will take part in a training exercise at the Marriott on Water Street at 1:30 p.m. and work to improve their response time to different emergency situations and practice crowd control.
More than 300,000 people are expected to attend the pirate-themed event. Drinking is allowed for those 21 and over, but they must stay in a wet zone, a space designated for alcohol consumption.
The City of Tampa released the following tips ahead of the invasion and parade:
See Something, Say Something: Police are asking all attendees to remain vigilant during the parade and report any suspicious activity. There are several ways to get information from the police department.
Have a Meeting Place: Please note, that due to large crowds there may be limited cell service during the event. For this reason, it is important to establish a meeting place ahead of time in case some of your krewe gets lost at sea.
Take a Photo of Your Child in Costume: To help identify your child if they get lost, take a photo of them on the day of the parade. This will help law enforcement officers quickly identify your child by their pirate garb. If you lose your child, alert the closest officer immediately. They will be stationed along the entire route.
Tampa Police also started a tip line for folks to report suspicious activity during Gasparilla.
TEXT: Type the key word SAFETAMPA and your tip to number 847411 (TIP411), and you will receive a response.
For a full list of tips and other things from the city click here.
You can watch our coverage of the pirate invasion and parade online and on air. Coverage of the invasion will begin on WFLA Now at 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28. The Parade of Pirates will be broadcast on News Channel 8 at 2:30 p.m.