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Monday, July 15, 2024
HomeNewsLocal newsPolice Week Hosts First Responders in Action at St. John Gravel Lot

Police Week Hosts First Responders in Action at St. John Gravel Lot

Thursday’s event, held as part of Police Week, was billed as a fun day for students on St. John. It was also an opportunity to see first responders at work and the different roles they play. Police, firefighters, and volunteers from St. John Rescue held demonstrations of drone technology, police dog searches, and the extrication of a car crash victim.

There was also a stop-the-bleeding demo put on by rescue volunteers. Students lined up for their chance to face what looked like a dismembered arm with open wounds and fluid pumped through a tube simulating blood.

Training Officer Bob Malacarne explained the fluid squirting out of those cuts was made up of juice, other liquids and almond butter. “I could eat it,” said one student.

Student practices bleeding suppression with St. John Rescue. (Source photo by Judi Shimel)

Students from Julius E. Sprauve School, St. John Christian Academy and Gifft Hill School also watched as firefighters used the jaws of life and other tools to remove a car crash victim from a crumpled vehicle. The doors came off, the windows were shattered; a crash test dummy in the driver’s seat was carefully removed and placed on a stretcher.

Then firefighters removed the roof.

Fire Service Lt. Robert Hyde said crews were engaged in crash victim practice sessions last week.

As they worked, supervisors watched closely. “The hardest part about this is the coordination and having clear communications,” said Hyde. Observers would notice how firefighters keep an eye on one another’s movements to clue themselves in on what to do next.

There was also time for technology. VIPD Juvenile Bureau Officer Jahbari Burton readied a camera-mounted drone for takeoff.

Students watch as Officer Jahbari Burton prepares a surveillance drone for flight. (Source photo by Judi Shimel)

Several times on Thursday, the announcer on the microphone told students to clear the area for the drone demonstration. But when police went into their next demonstration, only one mention was needed.

Watching from a distance as Special Operations officers put a police dog through its paces. (Source photo by Judi Shimel)

Children paid attention as police dogs took down officers acting as suspects at the gravel lot. Other demonstrations showed how K-9 teams search for drugs and weapons.

St. John Rescue Training Captain Brett Huntley said it’s not too soon for older students attending Thursday’s demonstration to think about careers as first responders.

“The best way for folks to learn more is to talk to them,” Huntley said as he pointed to firefighters carting off the roof of a car.

Fire crew members use teamwork to safely remove a crash test dummy. (Source photo by Judi Shimel)

Some are already showing interest. Sprauve School eighth graders Shay Powell and Rhea Hill are already Rescue volunteers.

“We had to ask a person if we would help them, and once we get consent then we can render aid,” Powell said.

“I’ve learned about CPR and AEB (Automatic External Defibrillator), and a lot about saving a toddler from choking,” said Hill.

“You learned how to save a toddler from choking?” Powell asked Hill, looking impressed. Former St. John Rescue Director Valerie Smith stood by their side and smiled.

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