first responders and volunteers gathered at Curtisville Primary Center on
Friday to help raise awareness of what they do and to help teach the students different
measures they can take to help keep themselves and their loved ones safe.
The annual event was started in 2004 by current West Deer Police Department
Chief, Jon Lape and is coordinated by the school resources officer, Sergeant
Michael Shurina, as a way of keeping children and their families aware of their
first responders during the school year.
According to Sergeant Shurina, during Safety Day, students are encouraged to check out the various vehicles each of the safety organizations has as well as their capabilities. “Events like this one help build relationships between our first responders and the community,” he said. “It’s really important that our students aren’t intimidated by our officers or firefighters and their equipment in case they ever need our help.”
Afterwards, second graders were asked to make posters about something they have
learned during the day. The posters will
be submitted to the West Deer Police Department, which will subsequently
display them at the station.
Chief Lape said he originally started conducting Safety Day as a way to
familiarize the children with his police officers and first responders should
they ever have to deal with them.
However, it has now blossomed into a special event for the students and
the first responders alike.
“I can’t tell you how many times adults have approached me to tell me about something they remember from Safety Day back when they were in first or second grade and that’s very gratifying,” he said. “Honestly, we enjoy it just as much as the kids do and we both benefit from it.”
In addition to the West Deer Police Department, which brought some of its cruisers and its K-9 officer, Nitro, other groups on hand at this year’s Safety Day included the West Deer EMS, which brought its ambulance and associated equipment. Also, all three of West Deer’s Volunteer Fire Departments attended the event and brought a fire rescue truck, a fire engine and a ladder truck for the students to experience.