A ladder truck, an ambulance, a police car and a Health Department trailer were all on display in the Port St. Joe Elementary School parking lot on Tuesday morning, and Gulf County emergency personnel were prepared to show a curious group of about 20 children exactly how everything worked.
The event was hosted as part of the school’s summer program. Gulf County Emergency management Director Matt Herring said the school had reached out to his office in the weeks prior to schedule the interaction.
“It’s something I used to do when I was a police chief,” Herring said. “And the school asked if for their summer program we’d be willing to do it. So, that’s why we did it, and things went great.”
At the event, students were able to explore the different trucks on display and interact with the first responders who work on them.
Each student went home with supplies from the Gulf County Health Department and some fun merchandise from Emergency Services.
“The (Health Department) gave the kids a bag of some summer goodies, including some emergency supplies that could be used if someone overheats,” said Herring. “And we gave them a bag with some fire department coloring books, crayons, that sort of thing.”
Herring said that he hopes events like this will not only increase awareness of emergency fields among the county’s young people, but will make emergency services and first responders feel more accessible to the students.
“We do a lot of those community events, especially with children just to foster a good relationship with them so that they know that all members of public safety are their friends, and we’re here to help,” he said.