VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Firefighters say they are ready to answer any calls this weekend at the Oceanfront, where large crowds are expected as part of the unofficial event known as College Beach Weekend.
Last year, emergency personnel dealt with stabbings and shooting incidents, and Virginia Beach Police made more than 150 arrests when large crowds roamed Atlantic Avenue.
The fire department says close coordination with the police department this time around will raise everyone’s level of effectiveness.
“Crowds at the Oceanfront are nothing new to the city of Virginia Beach,” said Amy Valdez, a battalion chief for the fire department.
This year, Virginia Beach Police are ready to limit access to Interstate 264, if needed, to manage traffic, enabling first responders to answer emergency calls without having to deal with traffic jams. If gridlock begins to build, the traffic plan would limit access to I-264 so that the routes into the resort area would be via Shore Drive, General Booth Boulevard, Virginia Beach Boulevard and Laskin Road.
“That is really the concern for our emergency services — can we get our ambulances and our fire engines through the traffic and through the crowds to where they need to be to assist our citizens and our visitors,” Valdez added.
10 On Your Side spoke with several Oceanfront businesses, and their plans range from already knowing they will close for the weekend to possibly closing, depending on what happens with the crowds.