Saturday event to spotlight rescue personnel, vehicles

JOE BROWN/File photo/Youngsters explore the Newbury police ATV at last year's Gloucester Public Safety Day at the Harbor Loop. This year's event is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., again at Harbor Loop.

If your children were caught in a smoky fire, would they know how to safely evacuate the building?

If you faced an emergency on the water, do you know what resources Gloucester police, the harbormaster's office and the U.S. Coast Guard could use to respond?

Residents and visitors can get answers to those and other questions this Saturday, all while enjoying some music, hot dogs and raking in some prizes, when Gloucester's Police and Fire departments host the second annual Community Safety Day on Harbor Loop.

The event, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will showcase a wide range of police, fire and rescue vehicles, tours of emergency patrol boats and Coast Guard Station Gloucester.

It will feature Gloucester Police and Fire, and Harbormaster departments, and units from Massachusetts state and environmental police, and the Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, among other agencies. Music will be by BJ the DJ, aka Gloucester police Officer B.J. Kendall, and there'll be a bounce house for kids, free hot dogs and drawings for a number of prizes donated by local businesses.

Beyond Gloucester, the day will include personnel and equipment from the Rockport, Essex, Ipswich and Peabody police departments — with Peabody bringing its mascot McGruff, the crime dog.

Also on hand will be human and equine members of the State Police Mounted Unit, the Salem Police Department's dive team, the Northeastern Massachusetts chapter of the American Red Cross, and members of the Endicott College Police Department.

Boston MedFlight  intends to land a helicopter at Station Gloucestere, weather and availability permitting.

"This isn't just a police and fire department event, it's a day for the whole community," said Joseph Parady, a Gloucester patrolman and a chief coordinator of the program. 

"It's just a day for the community to come out and be aware of all that public safety involves, and all the resources that are available to them," added Lt. Joseph Fitzgerald, the Police Department's commander of operations. 

All presentations will be free, but organizers will be accepting donations for the nonprofit Cops for Kids with Cancer organization, which is based in Braintree but has worked regularly with Gloucester police and two local boys — Will Bren and Mason Adams. Will, whose father Craig Bren works in the Harbormaster's Office and is a Coast Guard veteran and reservist, has been battling kidney cancer, while Mason two years ago asked family and friends to donate to Cops for Kids with Cancer rather than give him presents on his sixth birthday. Last year's inaugural community safety event raised $10,685, Parady said. 

"Just about everybody or their family has been touched by cancer in some way," Parady said, "and this is a good cause. But the whole day is about awareness and about having fun."

A number of presentations will be pure fun — Michael Scola and Peter Sutera, school resource officers at Gloucester High School and O'Maley Innovation Middle School, respectively, will sit in a dunk tank — while many will be educational. Those include the Fire Department's smoke trailer, which uses artificial smoke to show youngsters how to respond in the event of a fire.

"If, God forbid, there were to be a fire, this helps show kids how to evacuate," Parady said. "Again, it's raising awareness, and something we all need to know."

Residents will also have the chance to meet Gloucester new police chief, Edward Conley, who took over the department's reins from John McCarthy in April. 

Those who cannot attend the event, but wish to donate to the Cops for Kids with Cancer organization fundraiser can still do so. Checks  made payable to "Cops for Kids with Cancer" may be mailed or brought in person to the Gloucester Police Department at 197 Main St. Mail should be addressed to Officer Joe Parady.

Ray Lamont may be reached at 978-675-2705, or rlamont@gloucestertimes.com.

 

If you go

What: Second annual Community Safety Day, hosted by Gloucester public safety agencies and featuring Massachusetts State Police, Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council and other units from throughout the North of Boston area.

When: Saturday, July 13, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: Harbor Loop, Gloucester.