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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Public Safety Open House is chance to meet, greet police, firefighters and volunteers


Above / After a morning tour at the annual Public Safety Open House, youngsters enjoyed a picnic lunch at the Lake Osborne Pavilion just down the path from the Naperville Public Safety Campus. After a bite of his sandwich, one of the brothers announced he’s decided to be a “firefighter” when he grows up.

Glorious sunshine provided clear cover when the Naperville Police and Fire Departments hosted the annual Public Safety Open House from 10AM to 2PM on Sat., Sept. 23.

At the entrance to the garage at Naperville Fire Station #7, families were greeted by the City’s historic Aherns-Fox with a chance to recognize the magnitude and significance of the 1924 pumper able to pump 1,000 gallons a minute, a leader in fire apparatus a century ago. Note that today’s contemporary fire pumpers pump up to 1,500 gallons.

The second piece of motorized fire apparatus that the City of Naperville purchased was the 1924 Ahrens-Fox. The vintage museum-quality truck, now featured in Naperville parades, was restored by a 6-member crew of NFD volunteers in 2013.

For four hours, inside the garage, families found fun and educational ways to put their sights on safety information, activities and giveaways. Outside, Naperville’s public safety teams put on demonstrations throughout Naperville’s Public Safety Campus, 1380 Aurora Avenue.

Attendees watched Fire Department personnel conduct a water rescue from Lake Osborne.

The Naperville Public Safety Campus backs up to Lake Osborne. During the Public Safety Open House the back parking lot of Fire Station 7 provided a big display of emergency vehicles including firetrucks, ambulances and more.

An angler watching the rescue from the other side of the lake, fishing pole in hand, noted little success when asked about his catch of the day. “Nothing great just yet,” he said, while speculating the rescue activity in the water had scared all the fish to the bottom of the lake. He volunteered that he’d be patient.

Large crowd of spectators watched the demonstration of the flashover fire.

Spectators watched firefighters battle a flashover fire and extricate a victim from a crashed vehicle.

Rescue events throughout the event were narrated by Naperville firefighter paramedic Andy Winckler for the Naperville Fire Department.

Crowds also watched members of the Police Department personnel make a mock traffic stop and DUI arrest, showcase the talents of the K-9 Unit, and demonstrate how the department utilizes drones and tasers.

A firefighter paramedic operated a drone to watch demonstrations at the Public Safety Open House.

The annual free event is known to give participants the chance to view and interact with police and fire equipment and emergency vehicles.

Local youngsters sported giveaways as they toured the display of emergency vehicles on the back lot. The glow-in-the-dark vests promote the safety message, “Smell gas. Act fast.”

All ages have an opportunity to gather fire safety and crime prevention information as well as interact with police officers and firefighters.

How do police collect DNA and fingerprints? What’s yellow crime scene tape? How do police capture identification characteristics? Lots of questions were answered via displays on exhibit and crime scene detectives.

Booths are staffed with first responders and volunteers who demonstrate how to dust for fingerprints with a crime scene detective.

The all-volunteer Crime Stoppers organization distributed magnets and info about the local group with the international mission to promote “Keeping our community safe is everyone’s responsibility.”

Families learned the basics of calling 9-1-1 from real dispatchers. They also became acquainted with other activities that help keep the community safe, including how Crime Stoppers works when residents call (630) 420-6006.

Naperville Animal Control is located at the Naperville Public Safety Center, visible from River Road. The unit of the Naperville Police Department operates an animal shelter and rescues stray, injured or endangered animals. The educational display promoted responsible pet ownership and animal care.

Youngsters visited booths in the huge garage of the Naperville Fire Department, collecting pencils, vests, stickers, magnets and other giveaways.

Volunteers teamed up with information about local all-volunteer initiatives such as Citizens Appreciate Public Safety and Naperville Sister Cities.

At the Citizens Appreciate Public Safety (CAPS) display (all put away by the time of this photo), visitors were informed about the community group that recognizes public safety personnel for their contributions to the City. A CAPS Awards event honoring the Naperville Police Department is held annually in May, and a CAPS Awards event honoring the Naperville Fire Department is held in October. The public always is welcome to nominate candidates for the CAPS Awards and to attend the annual recognition dinners. 

October is Fire Prevention Month. The 2023 CAPS Awards Dinner is set for 6PM Thurs., Oct. 5, 2023, at Meson Sabika. For more information about Citizens Appreciate Public Safety, visit www.napervillecaps.com.

The medical helicopter circled the Public Safety Campus as photographers readied their zoom-in cameras to catch the landing up close.

The final event of the Public Safety Open House was the landing of a rescue helicopter to pick up victims from a reenactment of a crash scene. Spectators were kept quite a distance from the landing area to avoid stirring effects of rotor downwash, winds that occur during helicopter hover in close proximity to a ground surface.

The arrival of the rescue helicopter in the field in the Public Safety Campus created a display of rescue operations by the cutting-edge rotorcraft designed to save lives.

After the helicopter landed, a long line formed where folks waited to see the interior of the specially-equipped helicopter designed to transport injured or sick individuals in a medical emergency.

Families formed a long line for a chance to see the interior of the helicopter and how it’s equipped for emergencies.

The Public Safety Open House is held annually at the Public Safety Campus, 1025 Aurora Avenue at River Road, where the Naperville Police Station, Naperville Fire Department Administrative Offices with Fire Station 7, Naperville Animal Control and Safety Town are located.

Remember! Keeping the community safe is everyone’s responsibility

Get to know your neighborhood and your community. Know the rules of the road. Drive the speed limit that’s 25 mph throughout Naperville neighborhoods unless otherwise posted. Buckle up for safety. Watch out for pedestrians. Never text and drive. Drive sober. Lock doors. Celebrate safely. Thanks for reading!

Naperville Fire Department and Naperville Police Department and many public safety volunteers contributed to this story. Photos by PN.

Watch for dates of the 2024 Public Safety Open House. Meanwhile, PN provides space for columns dedicated to public safety written by community education specialist for the NFD and crime prevention specialist for the NPD. Look for monthly columns stored in PN’s archive around the clock. Focus on Safety and Fire Prevention 24-7.

Editor’s Update / James Hoch Photography helps tell the story in even more photos! Thanks to all who help keep our community safe and for all the initiative that creates the Public Safety Open House.




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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.


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