CARLSBAD — Thousands of residents came through the Carlsbad Safety Training Center on Oct. 14 for the city’s Public Safety Open House.
The annual event gives residents a chance to meet police officers, firefighters, public works staffers, other city employees and the Certified Emergency Response Team and to check out fire trucks, police cruisers and motorcycles and more.
The event is held in conjunction with National Crime Prevention Month and on the heels of Fire Prevention Week. The Federal Emergency Management Agency also recognizes October as National Fire Prevention Month.
“The kids just had a great time,” Carlsbad fire Chief Mike Davis said. “There was a lot of great information. I believe, wholeheartedly, it went very well.”
And this month has been a reminder of how devastating fires can be as much of Northern California is under siege due to wild land fires. Nine Carlsbad firefighters and two vehicles have been deployed to Northern California.
Davis said the yearly event allows residents and city employees to engage in numerous ways. For the fire department, it allows them to disseminate information about fires along with messaging from the National Fire Protection Association. This year’s theme was, “Every second counts, plan two ways out.”
Davis said residents got an inside look into public works and how tax dollars are spent.
In addition, 340 people practiced CPR via the Carlsbad Fire Explorers. Approximately 4,000 people came to the open house, about twice as many as last year, Davis said.
“We want to provide information so that people can be prepare in an emergency,” he explained. “We also want people to engage police and fire departments, especially young children, so they know that police and firefighters are here to help them. Particularly for the police department, they want the community to know that they are real people.”
The event also showcased the Carlsbad police, its vehicles, the shooting range and command centers. Residents, most of them children, climbed on and in the motorcycles and other vehicles getting a brief taste of being in law enforcement.
The city also put on several demonstrations during the day including a K-9 situation, a SWAT team drill and a fire exercise.
JoDawn Karnowski, a Carlsbad resident, brought her 3-year-old son, Zach, in the family’s first trip to the open house. She said her son has a healthy obsession with fire trucks and is awe struck every time one races past to a call.
She said the ability to meet the firefighters and police officers is a great benefit to the city as it allows for residents to develop connections and relationships with those first responders.
“He’s enjoying crawling and exploring the fire trucks,” Karnowski said. “It’s much greater than what I expected. This is fantastic. I think it’s extremely valuable. We never get the opportunity to sit and talk the firefighters. They (residents) don’t get the downtime to go and talk to them, and here it gives them the opportunity to engage and explore.”
Steve Puterski covers Carlsbad and Vista. For tips or story ideas, contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @StevePuterski.