No breaks for security



Pullman Fire Chief Mike Heston said firefighters are wearing personal protective equipment while on call.

Zack Briggs, Evergreen reporter

While WSU students take a break from the everyday hustle in Pullman, city police and fire emergency services remain on alert.

Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins said an around-the-clock police force ensures the safety of the Pullman community despite the thousands of students and local residents who travel during holiday and semester breaks.

Jenkins said while calls are reduced by about half of what they would be during a non-holiday week-day, police do see an increase in burglaries and thefts.

“Due to the fact that people are out of town, sometimes criminals will take advantage of that and break into houses and cars,” he said.

Most thefts and burglaries are not reported until the individuals return from vacation, Jenkins said.

Pullman fire emergency services also receive fewer calls during break times, said Pullman Fire Chief Mike Heston.

He said with fall coming to an end and temperatures falling into the teens, responses over the upcoming winter break could vary from frozen or leaking pipes to disrupted heater systems.

“We’ve had sprinkler pipes break and flood other peoples’ apartments,” he said.

Heston said the damage is more extensive when residents of the effected homes are not in town.

“Sometimes we get a couple calls up to the WSU campus when it comes to weak heat and steam pipes,” he said.

The potential for more serious fires exists during the winter break because poorly fed Christmas trees can lead to flammability, Heston said. Electrical issues are of concern as well when people decorate their houses with lights.

Less crime during seasonal breaks also means more leeway for Pullman PD employees.

“If some of our staff wants to take the vacation time off because the activity is reduced we have more flexibility in giving them that time off,” Jenkins said.

The periods of low criminal activity also serve as opportunities to hold training sessions, he said.

Heston encouraged Pullman residents to be wary of the approaching winter weather and work together to promote safety like shoveling the snow.

“Give each other a hand when shoveling your sidewalks,” he said. “With the bad weather, make sure to be careful out there, on and off the road.”