By Rich Campana
Great Hearts Academies
On this characteristically warm day in December, I found myself fully engaged throughout the Safe Communities Day. Our day was chaired by Jim Ford, Deputy Chief of Scottsdale Fire Department and Eric Williams, Lieutenant of Scottsdale Police Department Training Unit, but we met Assistant Chief Popp (SPD), Scottsdale SWAT and Negotiation Teams, Fire Chief Tom Shannon, Bob Dawson (SFD Fire Investigator), and a slew of other Fire and Police officers who graciously gave their Friday to help educate Class 31.
After eight jam-packed hours and being physically and emotionally exhausted, I wanted to focus on a couple areas where I find myself contemplating these issues for days after Safe Communities Day.
- The MILO Range Simulator
Walking in to a darkened room with video-projected targets on the wall, I was anxious to try my hand. At first you think that this “game” is about target practice, but when the “real-life” situations begin to unfold, your heart is racing, you’re talking / yelling at fake actors and for a moment you lose yourself in that moment.
In the debrief, you begin to understand the drastic ramifications that your split decisions or actions or misfires or non-actions can cause. You realize that in that 20 second experience where you may have shot and “killed” the perpetrator, that this will be analyzed in a court of law and you could be deemed hero or villain, when you (the police officer) was just reacting to the intense unfolding situation.
It definitely gave me a much better appreciation of the necessary training and made me more apathetic to the story behind these sensationalized stories on the news.
- Residential Sprinkler
Watching a side-by-side comparison of a 50 square foot room go up in flames – one equipped with one standard residential sprinkler and the other not was life changing. We watched as the ill-equipped house, at first slowly, and then raging, fire engulfed this room with no hesitation. Within two minutes every inch was ablaze and smoke billowing out until our fireman extinguished the flame. The next room was much more anti-climactic. A small trashcan fire started and within thirty seconds the small, but growing fire in the corner of the room was 99% extinguished and 100% contained by the sprinkler.
All newly constructed, modified, or renovated homes and business must be equipped with proper sprinkler systems. These are life-saving initiatives that Scottsdale has had in place for decades.
I want to again thank off of the Police and Fire officers for spending so much time on this day opening our eyes and helping make our community safer.