Helicopters, police dogs and bomb squad robots on display at Polson Park for emergency showcase

Public safety showcase

Tracey Prediger

Emergency services from police to paramedics converged at Vernon's Polson Park on Tuesday.

But it wasn't a crisis — it was the Vernon Emergency Showcase.

“We brought all our local public safety first responder partners together in the park so the public can come out and ... find out more about what we do in the community,” said Vernon RCMP spokesperson Const. Chris Terleski.

The showcase started in 2019 and has become an annual event, albeit with a break during the pandemic.

Everyone who came had an opportunity to ask questions, touch equipment and try on gear.

Among the many students in attendance was a group of grade eight students who came during a career education class.

After trying on some heavy military equipment, Georgia Thiem was treated to an experience she’ll likely never repeat — she hopes.

“We got handcuffed by some RCMP, and got to go into the back of the squad car, so I think that’s the coolest thing we’ve done so far,” she said.

Showcase-goers were treated to an RCMP helicopter landing and taking off, learned about work done by Phantom the police dog, and got a chance to walk alongside the robot from the RCMP's Explosive Ordnance Unit, commonly known as the bomb squad.

“The kids are really excited to get into the vehicles, handle the equipment, talk to us, so it’s a really great day,” said Terleski.

But not all questions were about the work these people do.

Andi Szudek already has career aspirations of becoming a tattoo artist, and instead chose to poll first responders on their favourite Taylor Swift song.

“We were talking to one of the RCMP officers at the tent. ...We love officer Sylvia, and we met the captain and I’m just really grateful for them helping out our community,” said Szudek.

For Szudek, the conversations led to an appreciation of the people behind the uniforms.

"We hear kids saying they are going to become a fireman, or paramedic, EMS or police. It's great to get that drive going and plant that seed when they’re young," said Terleski.

And if organizers have it their way, all the excitement will one day transfer into recruitment.

BC Emergency Health Services, Vernon Search and Rescue, the BC Dragoons, Vernon Fire Rescue, and the RCMP's Emergency Response Team also took part in the event.

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