RIVERSIDE: City of Riverside Police and Fire Expo Wows Crowds

Trevor Montgomery

Riverside County News Source

Photo Credits: Dan Cupido

Photo Credits: Steve Johnson

 

Riverside, Calif.; On Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, Riverside firefighters rappelled off the Downtown Fire Station, demonstrated a ladder rescue, demonstrated a rescue of a “victim” from the top of the fire station’s roof, they put out a vehicle fire and used their heavy equipment to perform an extrication of an “injured person” and more, all during a downtown Fire & Police Expo, put on by the city of Riverside.

Dozens of firefighters and police officers spent the day highlighting the work of their various specialty units at an expo from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Downtown Fire Station, 3401 University Ave.

The officers from the Riverside Mounted Police were on hand and as always, were a big hit with children and adults alike, who invariably wanted to meet, pet and even talk to the horses. The horses seemed very content with all the affectionate attention.The Riverside Mounted Police Unit consists of eight civilian volunteers, two sworn officers, and their horses. Members of the mounted police spend countless hours training with their horses, that have to be certified for law enforcement use. Those untold hours of training definitely showed at Saturday’s expo.

Photo Credit: Dan Cupido

Photo Credit: Dan Cupido

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson 

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson 

There were numerous live demonstrations throughout the afternoon, all of which wowed the crowd. One of the highlights was when the Riverside Police Department’s helicopter “Air1” landed right in the middle of the intersection of University Avenue and Lemon Drive; a sight few could have ever imagined seeing done so skillfully.

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

 Firefighters simulated extracting a victim trapped in a car using their heavy equipment, the same equipment they used on October 19 after a devastating wreck on the 91 freeway that occurred when a tractor-trailer semi-truck lost control and plowed into a number of cars, one of which ended up under the cab of the big-rig. The wreckage was so severe it left a mangled mess of vehicles, parts and debris strewn across both sides of the freeway. (See Pictures Of Rescue)

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

In one demonstration, firefighters fought a spectacular vehicle blaze in a simulated emergency. Spectators got to see everything from how the fire fighters put on their protective gear and equipment, how they prepared to safely combat the fire and then they all got to see the firefighters moving in to fight back the fire. Even from where the spectators were safely gathered, the crowd could feel the heat radiating from the blazing car.

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson
Photo Credit: Steve Johnson
Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson


The fire department also demonstrated a horse rescue using a mannequin, by a unit that specializes exclusively in rescuing large animals, mainly horses.The newly formed public safety Horse Animal Rescue Team (HART) became active this in July.

In a previous statement to Central News Service, Riverside County Department of Animal Services spokesman John Welsh said, “Many of our officers are knowledgeable in equine rescues and handling, but these workshops ensure everyone who works in any rescue as part of a ‘mutual aid’ call involving HART have all the necessary training to participate. You will likely hear a lot more about HART in the coming months, especially when an incident occurs.”

Photo courtesy of the Riverside County Animal Services Department.

There were officers from the Riverside Police Department and the department’s SWAT Team on hand, ready to answer questions from the enthusiastic crowd. There are twenty-four members on the department’s SWAT team. Eight of those officers are assigned to the full-time team, known as METRO, while sixteen of the team’s officers are assigned to the team as collateral officers from the department’s Patrol Division.

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

The Riverside Police Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) Team set up displays that included examples of some of the extensive gear worn by team members as well as the team’s tactical vehicle and offered citizens an opportunity to climb inside both it’s cab as well as it’s personnel carrying area. Spectators, both young and old, were not only allowed, but encouraged to fully explore the armored vehicle used by the SWAT team. The roof port was even open so those tall enough could see the view from the top of the massive vehicle.

Photo Credit: Dan Cupido 

Photo Credit: Dan Cupido

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

A number of displays were set up and one area included a display by the city’s Technical Services Unit, which is a division of the Riverside Police Department. The TSU provides specialized support to handle unusual hazards that occur in the community. Additionally, members of the TSU are certified Bomb Technicians and are also Hazardous Materials Specialists. TSU members respond to incidents involving bombs and explosives, clandestine drug laboratories and calls related to biological pathogens. The TSU also handles any incidents requiring the use of robotics. Displays and demonstrations also showed how the hazardous materials team works in dangerous situations requiring special precautionary measures.

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson 

Photo Credit: Dan Cupido 

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson 

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson 

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson 

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson 

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson 

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson 

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson 

On an absolutely beautiful day that was perfect for families to enjoy a fun-filled afternoon, people came out from all over the city to show their love and support for their local home-town heroes. It was a great opportunity to meet those individuals who choose daily to run towards danger and put the needs and safety of the citizens they serve above their own.

Asked about her day, Suzanne Enfield said, “This was the perfect chance to meet our officers and firefighters. They do so much for our community…my family had so much fun today.” Asked what her favorite part of the day was, Suzanne didn’t hesitate for a moment and immediately answered, “The best part for all of us was the car on fire! We could feel the heat and it was amazing to see the dangers our firefighters face every day like climbing that ladder. No way! This was a great way for them to reach out to the community and I hope they (the city) will do this again.”

Photo Credit: Dan Cupido
Photo Credit: Dan Cupido
Photo Credit: Dan Cupido
Photo Credit: Dan Cupido
Photo Credit: Steve Johnson
Photo Credit: Steve Johnson
Photo Credit: Steve Johnson
Photo Credit: Steve Johnson
Photo Credit: Steve Johnson
Photo Credit: Steve Johnson
Photo Credit: Steve Johnson
Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

Photo Credit: Steve Johnson

Asked about the expo and all the displays he had seen, 5 year-old Danny Transen bubbled with excitement typical for his age. When asked what his favorite thing he had seen was, Danny looked around wide-eyed trying to take in all the interesting sites surrounding him, before his eyes settled on “Air1” sitting in the intersection. Danny exclaimed, “The helicopter was the best! I’m gonna fly someday!”

Two blocks of University Avenue were blocked off from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., between Lime Street and Orange Street, to accommodate the expo. There were no major reported incidents during the fun and memorable day.

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

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