Police, Fire Departments' Message: Safety First

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The Payson police and fire departments are having the first-ever public safety fair Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

The event is to promote public safety awareness. Residents will also learn the products and services available to them by local law enforcement, said event coordinator Payson Police Officer Joni Varga.

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Kodiak the police dog will be on hand to demonstrate drug-busting tactics.

Information will be available on all of the Payson Police Department's programs including the new Watch Your Car auto theft prevention program.

"It's a sticker that goes in the back window of your car and it allows the police to stop your car between certain hours of the night and verify that the vehicle is being operated lawfully," Payson Police Sgt. Rod Mamero said. "It also incorporates vehicle identification number (VIN) etching."

Free VIN etching will be available at the fair, Mamero said.

An officer also will be discussing gun safety and giving out free gun locks. Mamero said gun locks are limited, so those who want one should come early.

Other programs offered by the department include Neighborhood Block Watch, Police Access to the Homebound (PATH) and the Guardian Angel Program.

The PATH and Guardian Angel Programs are targeted for elderly and homebound residents who don't have full-time care.

Department volunteers make daily telephone calls to check on their welfare. Homebound people may also receive a device that contacts help in case of an emergency.

Persons interested in becoming a Payson Police Department volunteer can talk to other volunteers about opportunities, and fill out an application.

"There will also be information about our emergency communications system and 911," Mamero said.

At 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., fair attendees can see the department's award-winning police dog, Kodiak, demonstrate his skills.

"We are going to hide narcotics on a vehicle and Kodiak will find them," Mamero said. "Then, he will demonstrate how he apprehends an aggressive suspect."

Mamero said an officer will put on a bite suit and play the part of the suspect.

Personnel from the Payson Fire Department also will be present to provide information on the importance of smoke detectors in the home, bicycle safety and tips to protect your home during fire season.

Payson Fire Department Administrative Secretary Monica Savage said residents can sign up for a free smoke detector and, at a later date, department staff will come and install it as well.

"We want to make sure they are installed in the proper place in the home," Savage said. "We also will be giving out home evacuation plan information."

Savage said they will be giving out free Vials of Life.

"It's a little vial that you put all your medical information in -- allergies, what medications you are taking and what doctors you go to," Savage said. "You put it inside of your refrigerator and put a sticker on the refrigerator. That way if you are passed out and paramedics come to your house, they will see the sticker and get the information from the vial."

Paramedics also will offer free blood pressure checks.

For more information on the public safety fair, call the Payson Police Department at (928) 474-5177.

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