Philadelphia Mayor Kenney: Country needs 4 days of positivity at DNC

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Mayor Kenney discusses staying safe in the heat during the DNC. (WPVI)

With just hours to go before the official start of the Democratic National Convention, Philadelphia officials touched on topics ranging from security, the heat wave, and spreading positivity.

"It is very exciting to see what's going to happen in Philadelphia with this historic happening that's going to result in the first woman president of the United States," Mayor Jim Kenney said during Sunday afternoon's news conference.

Kenney, joined by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross and Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel, wanted to make sure those coming to the city were ready - not only for the crowds, but for the heat.

"The city already has four related deaths this year. I urge residents to drink water frequently, check on their neighbors, limit time outdoors as much as possible, and keep their windows open if they do not have air conditioning," Kenney said.

Kenney said two medic tents, two misting tents, and bottled water will be available 24/7 at FDR Park for the benefit of demonstrators.

"Medics will also be assigned to marches and demonstrators are encouraged to request a permit to help ensure there is adequate medical staff on-hand," Kenney said.

Broad Street will see fire hydrant sprinkler caps and bottled water pallets. The city will not be granting permits for camping during the DNC.

The mayor said he wants this convention to be a more uplifting one than "last week."

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Mayor Jim Kenney talks about the upcoming DNC.

"This country, after last week, needs this. How it ended last week, I was stunned at how bad it was. What I think this country needs now is four days of positivity," Kenney said. "Did you watch last week? It needs some inclusion. It needs some love. It needs some hope. It needs some energy. What we're living in is difficult times, but it's not all a downer. This country is a great country and to have a major party candidate talk so badly about country's situation, I this this country needs to hear from us and hear from positive people."

Commissioner Ross said he was in Cleveland as that city prepared for the Republican National Convention to get information on how they were setting up.

In addition, Philadelphia police officers were on the ground for the RNC to get a firsthand account.

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Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross talks about prepping for DNC.

"They were able to get some vital intelligence that helped us, more so in proving we were on the right page and doing the right thing. We got a comprehensive plan, as you might imagine, and we're confident in that and we're confident it will keep the people who are visiting here and working here safe," Richard Ross said.

Ross did say the recent tragic events around the world have caused them to take some additional security measures for the protection of protesters, police, and the public. In particular, in response to the tragedy in Nice, France, additional barricades are being put in place to stop vehicles, Ross said.
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Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross speaks on security measures.

Fire Commissioner Thiel said the fire department will be doing its job in protecting the city while also honoring Firefighter Gabriel Lee, who passed away Saturday night.

"We're going to be fulfilling all the requirements of our mission around the DNC, protecting the city 24/7, 365, and also circling up, and working together, as we do as brothers and sisters, and rallying around his family and doing right by Gabe," Thiel said.

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Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam K. Thiel speaks on DNC preps and remembering a fallen firefighter.

Mayor Kenney wants to make sure the City of Brotherly Love has a convention of a similar tone.

"The key to this whole thing is just to try and show some love and try to show some understanding. People are hurting, people are angry, people are fearful, and we need to put the country back on track, but we can't put it back on track with divisiveness and marginalization. We have to include everyone and I think that's what our message has been here when it comes to protesters, delegates, citizens, elected officials, we need to come together in a unified way to make this country move forward and that's what we're looking forward to do," Kenney said.
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