Public safety opens its doors
Young and old came together to tour the Marco Island Police and Fire-Rescue departments as those agencies opened their doors on a Saturday to give citizens the opportunity to see what they do.
Displays of vehicles and hands-on equipment demonstrations seemed to delight all, no matter what age.
Sitting in a fire truck, holding handcuffs and receiving important safety information were a hit with all that attended.
"This is great to have the kids and their parents get to meet us and ask questions in such a relaxed environment," said officer Steve Gaskill, who manned the information booth at the lobby of the police headquarters.
Officer Bill Miller even got to fingerprint several of the attendees to show them how that procedure is done — and what is required to do it right.
Capt. Leo Rodriquez stood back and watched as his son, Andrew, grabbed hold of the bale on a fire department attack nozzle and easily guided the water stream to its objective.
Rodriguez stood back and grinned with pride as Andrew completed his task.
Presentations also were held with families about water safety around home pools and how to avert tragedies by simply educating children on what to do should an emergency arise.
Residents also got to see specialty equipment like radar used to detect speeders and AEDs (automatic defibrillators) carried in each of the police cruisers that help save lives.
There also was plenty to eat and drink for those who visited the fire station.
Pizza, water, soft drinks and slices of a special birthday cake celebrating the 50th year of the establishment of the Marco Fire Department were given out to those who attended.
Hundreds took advantage of the tours and demonstrations and parents, like longtime resident and business owner Ken Sampson, praised the departments for making the effort.
"This is a great thing for the community," said Sampson, who toured both facilities and stopped by for a little cake afterward.