Police, fire, emergency service units to converge for public safety event
● By Richard Gaw
For 365 days a year, seven days a week and 24 hours a day, southern Chester County is blanketed by the departments, forces and individuals that make up its police, fire and emergency service units. While that blanket will no doubt still serve as a canopy of safety a few Saturdays from now, many of these agencies will take a short break from their responsibilities in order to do a little show-and-tell.
Public Safety Appreciation Day, scheduled for May 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the New Garden Township Building on 299 Starr Road in Landenberg, will bring together nine professional units throughout the county and Delaware for a full day of demonstrations, tours and workshops – all intended to teach children and families about police, fire and emergency service protection.
The New Garden Police Department will play host for the event, which will also have representation from the following units: Pennsylvania State Police in Avondale; Southern Chester County Medical Services; the Chester County Regional Police; the Chester County Regional SWAT team; the K-9 unit from the Chester County Sheriff’s Office; the Avondale Fire Company; the Pennsylvania Wilderness Search and Rescue team; and the police departments of West Grove, Parkesburg Borough and Newark, Del.
This active participation event will be give attendees the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and get to work on any of the following: to serve as a forensic/CSI investigator at a crime scene; to witness the Avondale Fire Department's "Jaws of Life" equipment dismantle a vehicle; to watch an airlift demonstration by a JeffStat helicopter; to learn hands-on CPR from MEDIC 94; to get an inside look at Chester County SWAT tactics and talk with the team; to enjoy a K9 demonstration by the Chester County Sheriff's Office; attend public safety workshops inside the township building; and take on the role of a member of the Pennsylvania Wilderness Search and Rescue team.
The tendrils of the idea first came when Suzanne Geouque, a member of the New Garden Township Parks and Recreation Committee, attended last Fall's 300th anniversary of New Garden Township, where the New Garden Police Department had a display. There, she talked about the possibility of creating a public event with Police Chief Gerald Simpson.
"I had been bouncing the idea for a first responder day around for a little while, because we never see these people of our community unless its an emergency situation, and then often, it's as a faceless person – a fireman behind their equipment, for instance, and we don't see the person behind it," said Geouque, who is serving as the event's chief organizer. "So I thought, 'Maybe there is something we can do.'"
"We all see ourselves as stakeholders in the same objectives in being able to relate to our community," Simpson said. "We have all of these organizations in this region who all share the same mission, and all want to have opportunities to interact and teach others. It's part the mission of all of us – to interact with the public and create opportunities for communication, education, and trust building. How better to do that than on a one-on-one basis?
"Events not only serves the public, but it serves our professions as well," Simpson added. "It grounds us, back to why we got into these professions in the first place, which is to help people. Events like this remind of us of that."
"What we want most of all is for people to attend this event to get to meet and know at least one person in at least one of these many public safety organizations," Geouque said, "to realize that these persons are not just members of a department, but that these departments are made up of people in our community."
The event will be free and open to the public. Food and drinks will be available, as well as moon bounce and finger painting for children. For more information, visit www.ngpd.org or www.newgarden.org.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.