PITTSFIELD — It was all Code 3 Tuesday — blasting lights and sirens — at Warsaw Middle School as police, fire, emergency medical personnel, game wardens, border patrol agents and forest rangers put on a demonstration for students marking National EMS Week and ushering in Pittsfield’s bicentennial celebration this year.

Close to 800 students — big kids and little kids — excitedly clambered in, out of and on the cruisers and firetrucks, as horns tooted and sirens screeched in a cacophony of sight and sound while the children learned the importance of going beyond the call of duty for public safety.

Mason Goode, a second grader at the Vickery School, said he knew why it is important to learn about police and emergency medical services personnel.

Warsaw School second-grader Mason Good tells why the law enforcement and first responder exercise is important for the hundreds of students to see Tuesday at the school in Pittsfield. Morning Sentinel photo by David Leaming

“We’re going to have fun looking at these police and firefighters and ambulance,” Mason said as he prepared to enter one of the emergency vehicles for a quick tour. “They help our country to be safe and help everybody.”

Mason’s classmate Tahay Cook couldn’t agree more.

“It is a fun day because we get to see the vehicles and we get to go inside all of the vehicles,” she said, adding that it was all exciting. “It is important because it helps our country and because it keeps people safe.”

EMS Week, honoring emergency medical services,  first was authorized by President Gerald Ford in 1974 and recognized during the week of May 19-25.

“EMS is not a profession of wealth and fame,” Maine Emergency Medical Services board Chairman Scott Susi and Michael Sauschuck, commissioner of the Maine Department of Public Safety, said in a news release. “EMS providers turn people’s fears into hope and help alter the outcomes of what may be the worst day in their lives.”

This year’s theme is “EMS Strong; Beyond the Call” for providers and first responders.

Pittsfield police Officer Michael Cray, the department’s school resource officer, said planning Tuesday’s event began during the winter and it coincides with the town of Pittsfield’s 200th anniversary this year.

“We started putting this together early in March, and we have a bicentennial this year, so they added that as something to get the kids involved,” Cray said in the Warsaw Middle School yard Tuesday morning amid the din of emergency vehicle horns and sirens. “It just evolved after that.”

Cray said police Chief Harold “Pete” Bickmore is committed to community policing and getting young people involved in aspects of public safety. He said he expected 23 separate fire, rescue and police units from three area counties to participate in Tuesday’s event.

“We didn’t realize it at the time until we and the Bicentennial Committee did a little research and found today is First Responder Day. Then we found out it is National EMS Week and incorporated everything together,” Cray said. “It should be before the end of the day, 800 to 1,000 kids go through.”


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