By: Christopher Hodges, Director of Public Safety / David C. Noyes, Chief of Police
The Waterville Valley Department of Public Safety presented the 5th Annual Citizen’s Public Safety Academy which wrapped up on June 13th. Local citizens participated in the five week program learning about all aspects of Public Safety in Waterville Valley.
“We had our largest turnout this year. It was great to see the amount of interest and participation from the residents in what we do.” Chief Noyes said.
The purpose of the program is to expose our community members to the equipment, training, and capabilities of the department. The one-night a week program concentrated on one public safety topic a week. Chief Noyes stated, “Waterville Valley DPS has an advantage to teach all aspects of public safety because we still remain the only full-time police, fire, and EMS combined department in the northeast.”
The academy strives to be very “hands-on” and breaks away from a traditional lecture format. Opening night started with a brief introduction and history of the department. The participants were then given a station tour, a look at the apparatus, and an equipment preview. The highlight of the evening was the Hummvee rides in the newly acquired WVDPS Hummvee.
The remaining classes included fire night where the department performed a live demonstration of auto extrication and car fires. Participants got to see the Jaws of Life in action on a real car and the techniques used to put it out once it was on fire.
Police night was a Taser® demonstration by Lt. Todd Faulkner, a Taser expert from the Hinsdale Police Department. All participants had a chance to fire a real Taser at targets. The night ended with a live K-9 demonstration by Gilford Police Sergeant, Dustin Parent and his German Sheppard partner Agbar. Sgt. Parent demonstrated the bite and searching ability of Agbar for the crowd. Officer Andy Vermeersch graciously “volunteered” to wear the bite sleeve and get bit by Agbar.
EMS night was our annual CPR and AED certification class. The citizens were certified in the new “hands only” CPR program. They were also trained in the use of an automatic external defibrillator (AED). The program culminated in a BBQ/potluck celebration with a slideshow presentation of the academy participants and a ride on the ladder truck tower.
“We strive to keep each year fresh and exciting. We have seen about half of the participants have attended the previous academies.” Chief Noyes states. “The bonus for us and the citizens is that we get to know each other personally. It allows us to step out of our daily routine and get back to what really is most important, the citizens and community that we serve. “
On behalf of the department we would like to thank all the citizens that took the time out of their day to participate. We would especially like to thank our members for volunteering much of their time for making the Citizen Academy such a success. The Citizen Public Safety Academy will be presented annually in the spring and is open to everyone! See you in town!
Photos courtesy Chiefs Hodges & Noyes