Cville & Albemarle Take Safety Measures Before Outdoor Events - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Cville & Albemarle Take Safety Measures Before Outdoor Events

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The Boston Marathon bombings targeted a large gathering of people to maximize damage. Even such a long way from Boston, some are already thinking about a pair of popular events on the horizon for Charlottesville and Albemarle County.

Fridays after Five and the Foxfield Races are quickly approaching. First responders say Monday's news is at the front of their minds as they plan.

Five-thousand people can rock out at the kick-off of Fridays after Five this weekend. Some 20,000 people will flock to the Foxfield Races at the end of April. Both are popular events and potential targets for mass casualties.

"Know that we're going to staff it with law enforcement a visible presence that will be there for the people that will be attending," said Lt. Ronnie Roberts, with the Charlottesville Police Department.

Charlottesville police will canvass the nTelos Wireless Pavilion ahead of the event to check for out-of-place items. Expect a more thorough bag check as well. Albemarle police say 170 officers will be at the spring horse races.

 "We'll be providing a heavy presence just like we have in years past," said Lt. Peter Mainzer with the Albemarle County Police Department.

Natural disasters have kept the city and county on its emergency response feet. Last summer's derecho and recent bouts with winter forced a more coordinated effort between first responders. Authorities are using the back of a car as a mobile command center, breaking down communication barriers to be as efficient as possible.

"We use that incident management on the individual scene of those particular emergencies. You could have dozens of them for something that large," said Deputy Chief Britt Grimm with the Charlottesville Fire Department.

And while plans are always developed to handle large-scale events, people are still their own first line of defense.

"It all starts with being aware of your surroundings and knowing what's out of place," Mainzer said.

Police are urging people who see anything out of the ordinary - any time of the day - to call police.

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