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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Naperville’s Public Safety Open House featured first-ever fashion show


Fire trucks and other emergency vehicles that keep Naperville residents well protected on many different levels were on display.

With glorious sunshine overhead, the Naperville Police and Fire Departments again hosted “Partnering for Prevention” during their annual Public Safety Open House Saturday at the Public Safety Campus, located along Aurora Ave. at River Road.

For the first three hours, the popular family-friendly event featured action-packed demonstrations including a flash-fire, K-9 units and a helicopter rescue. A variety of emergency vehicle displays attracted youngsters to explore. Inside the garage, many hands-on safety exhibits and educational give-aways kept families and many scout groups actively learning. Free refreshments were available, too.

Style show, too

At 2PM, hundreds of spectators, all ages, poured into the garage at Station #7 to watch the first-ever Firefighter and Police Fashion Show, a much-anticipated attraction that had been organized by members of the departments’ educational staffs.

The showcase of the latest styles featured an array of basic uniforms to the most personal protective gear or Hazmat suits that consist of impermeable whole-body garments. Some styles of  protective wear featured self-contained breathing systems to ensure plenty of breathable air.

With lively narration and upbeat music, seven representatives from the Naperville Police Department, including a member from Animal Control with a tiny dog, were first to strut across the runway and back.

With shiny black shoes and a gold badge, Naperville Police Chief Bob Marshall was introduced with the explanation that the four gold stars on the collar of his uniform indicate his status as the top ranking officer of the Naperville Police Department.  Enthusiastic applause came from an attentive and appreciative audience seated and standing in front of the stage.

Seven members of the NPD modeled every-day wear as well as emergency-call uniforms.

Naperville Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis also was dressed in his official best for the occasion, to the cheers of the young spectators.

Note five gold stripes on both sleeves of the jacket of Naperville Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis’ uniform, designating his top leadership of the department.

Following Chief Puknaitis, other members of the Fire Department, including a member from the Highland Guard Pipe and Drum Band, showed off their action wear that included protective diving suits for water rescue.

By the end of the style show, 16 models from Naperville’s police and fire departments were prepared to step up in partnership on the runway for their final bow.

The finale included a rousing rendition of “America, the Beautiful” on bag pipes just before McGruff the Crime Dog and Sparky the Fire Dog approached the runway and the tune changed to a playful recording of “Who Let the Dogs Out?”

A member from the Highland Guard Pipe and Drum Band performed “America, the Beautiful.”

After the show, attendees were given photo opportunities with Chief Marshall and Chief Puknaitis as well as other outfitted employees from Naperville’s accredited teams of public safety employees. The meet and greet opportunities are important for youngsters. That way, in the event of a fire, vehicle accident or water emergency, youngsters will know that the teams of men and women in the various uniforms, sometimes with protective masks, are friendly helpers to their rescue.

Every year, the Public Safety Open House provides learning experiences and opportunities for youngsters to meet and greet first responders up close.

In the end, McGruff and Sparky provided a great send off. Organizers from the educational staffs of both the police and fire departments promise to return again next October with another Public Safety Open House to exhibit how Naperville is ready and prepared to protect the community of more than 145,000 residents.

McGruff the Crime Dog and Sparky the Fire Dog are reminders that keeping the community safe is everyone’s responsibility.

Until next year, keep tabs on timely and helpful safety tips by visiting the monthly posts of PN columnists Soraya McLaughlin and Julie Smith.

Trick or Treat!

Enjoy a safe and healthful Halloween.  While the City of Naperville does not have an ordinance regarding the hours for trick or treating, the community follows an unwritten rule to end door-to-door canvasing by 8PM on Halloween, Oct. 31. Most Naperville residents will leave their porch lights on in anticipation of trick-or-treaters between 4-8PM.

The Naperville Junior Womans Club will host its annual Trick or Treat at Safety Town from 10AM-2PM Sat., Oct. 18.  Admission is $1 per person and a nonperishable item for Loaves & Fishes Community Pantry. Safety Town also is located on the Naperville Public Safety Campus at the corner of Aurora Avenue and River Road.

We anticipate a high number of costumed young firefighters and police officers will be knocking on doors for treats on Halloween.

Celebrate safely every season of the year!

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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.