Night Out shows off emer­gency ser­vices

Souderton Independent - - FRONT PAGE - By Bob Keeler

Along with all the planned dis­plays of emer­gency ser­vices equip­ment and peo­ple at Tues­day night’s Community Night Out in Soud­er­ton, there was an­other part that wasn’t an­tic­i­pated.

Shortly af­ter 8 p.m., the fire whis­tle went off, send­ing at least one fire­fighter run­ning through a po­lice dog demon­stra­tion as the sirens and flash­ing lights went on for real and the trucks pulled out af­ter skirt­ing a med­i­cal he­li­copter and the crowds at Soud­er­ton Community Park.

Ini­tially re­ported as a build­ing fire, it turned out to be an unat­tended con­trolled burn, Per­se­ver­ance Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany of Soud­er­ton Chief Al Sergio said.

Giv­ing the pub­lic a chance to see the equip­ment used by po­lice, fire and emer­gency med­i­cal per­son­nel and meet the peo­ple who use that equip­ment is one of the pri­mary pur­poses of Community Night Out hosted by the Soud­er­ton and Telford po­lice de­part­ments.

Along with the lo­cal po­lice and fire de­part­ments, other groups in at­ten­dance in­cluded the Mont­gomery County Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Cen­ter, Mont­gomery County Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity, North Penn Tac­ti­cal Re­sponse Team and the Penn­syl­va­nia Na­tional Guard.

“We have over 20 law en­force­ment agen­cies rep­re­sented here tonight,” Soud­er­ton Bor­ough Po­lice Depart­ment Of­fi­cer David Gale said.

“We have about 25 to 30 po­lice ve­hi­cles,” Soud­er­ton po­lice Chief James Leary said. “We have prob­a­bly more than 20 fire ve­hi­cles.”

There were also an­other 10 spe­cialty ve­hi­cles, used for pur­poses such as in­ves­ti­ga­tion, tac­ti­cal units and bomb squads.

“All of them are staffed by the pro­fes­sion­als who use them ev­ery sin­gle day,” Leary said.

There were also more than 100 cars in the park as part of the East Penn Mod­i­fiers Club’s car show, with ad­di­tional car show ve­hi­cles on the streets

lin­ing the park, bring­ing the to­tal to more than 125, he said.

The night wasn’t only about ve­hi­cles, though. The City of Bethlehem Po­lice Depart­ment brought three horses. In an­other ex­am­ple of four-footed, rather than four-wheeled, law en­force­ment, there was a po­lice dog demon­stra­tion by the Mont­gomery Town­ship Po­lice Depart­ment.

An­other of the high­lights was the pie eat­ing con­test be­tween mem­bers of the Soud­er­ton, Telford, Tyler­sSRrW DnG HDrOeysviOOe fire com­pa­nies.

Con­tes­tants had to race to Ee WKe firsW WR fin­isK D EOue­berry pie while keep­ing their hands be­hind their back and Giv­inJ IDce firsW inWR WKe Sie to eat.

HDrOeysviOOe fire­fiJKWer Jeff Rick­ert, the win­ner, had a cheer­ing sec­tion chant­ing his name as he neared the end, but he said what re­ally mo­ti­vated him was an ear­lier in­di­ca­tion that he was fall­ing be­hind.

“Some­body said some­body was win­ning and it didn’t sound like me, so I just went in fur­ther,” Rick­ert said. “All I heard was I was los­ing, so I just dove in. I couldn’t even see.”

Still an­other high­light was the Jef­fSTAT med­i­cal he­li­copter, which chil­dren ran ex­cit­edly to­ward af­ter its land­ing and which peo­ple crowded around to see.

Mu­si­cal en­ter­tain­ment in­cluded the bar­ber­shop quar­tet “Dis­tinc­tion,” of which Gale is a mem­ber.

Erin Price, of Perkasie, Miss Key­stone 2012, helped out at the Key­stone Op­por­tu­nity Cen­ter in­for­ma­tion ta­ble. There was also a food col­lec­tion for the Key­stone Op­por­tu­nity Cen­ter food SDnWry; cROOecWiRns DnG wDIfle DnG ice creDP sDOes WR Eene­fiW Ch­est­nut Street Play­ground; DnG D GunN WDnN Eene­fiWWinJ Soud­er­ton Community Pool.

In pre­vi­ous years, the Soud­er­ton event was part of Na­tional Night Out ac­tiviWies KeOG Rn WKe firsW TuesGDy in Au­gust, but with many towns hold­ing events the same night for NNO, it made iW GiI­fi­cuOW IRr DWWenGees DnG par­tic­i­pat­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions to get to all the events.

The new date changed that.

“We have a very good turnout tonight. I’m im­pressed,” Gale said.

An­thony Ruggiero cuffs his brother Tommy’s feet.

Soud­er­ton In­de­pen­dent pho­tos — SU­SAN KEEN

Alex Vazquez climbs out of a fire truck.

Jay­den MacFar­lend looks at the Jef­fSTAT emer­gency he­li­copter at Community Night Out.

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