Tuesday evening the town of Dobson held its first National Night Out celebration in more than 10 years, according to Police Chief Shawn Myers. ‘
The event was headlined by a mock emergency drill featuring members of the Skull Camp and Dobson Fire departments, the Dobson Rescue Squad and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s AirCare.
Hundreds of area residents gathered at Dobson Square Park for the event, which included a free dinner of hot dogs and chips. Many people showed-up early to the event, jockeying for position in the 100 yard-long hot dog line. However, the focus of the event changed when area first-responders did a demonstration at a mock car accident.
As members of the Dobson Volunteer Fire Department stood on standby to ensure the safety of onlookers, rescue trucks from the Skull Camp department and Dobson Rescue squads rushed to the scene of the “T-Bone” car accident.
With lights and sirens blazing, members of the organizations piled off the trucks and quickly put the Jaws of Life and other equipment to work in order to free two entrapped motorists. Firefighters and rescue squad members worked tirelessly to remove windshields and doors, cut the top off of one car and rush the motorists to medical care.
The scene was complete when one of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s AirCare helicopters checked onto station and circled a landing zone that had been set-up in a nearby clearing. When the helicopter landed, first-responders rushed one of the mock patients to the bird.
While that was the end of the demonstration, it didn’t end the festivities for children and adults at the event. After the AirCare helicopter powered down, visitors were afforded the opportunity to get a close-up view of the bird and even sit in it. AirCare in-flight registered nurse Mack Tolbert said he greatly enjoys taking part in community events such as Tuesday’s.
“This job can be really exciting at times and very slow at others,” said Tolbert. “I’d rather be out here than sitting at our trailer waiting for a call.”
Dobson Rescue Squad Chief Jonathan Bledsoe said Tuesday’s event offered an excellent training opportunity for squad members and was a great chance for members of the public to see the squad at work.
“Last night’s demonstration opened up some eyes in the public as to what it actually takes to safely extricate an individual from a vehicle,” Bledsoe said Wednesday, adding that “it was a huge benefit to work with neighboring agencies in the controlled environment.”
Bledsoe also said that it’s important for the public to see the equipment the rescue squad uses. Bledsoe said, “it’s important for the public to see the equipment at work. We are a non-profit volunteer group funded mostly through donations. Events like Tuesday’s show people how important their contributions are.”
After AirCare’s departure there were still activities for visitors. A number of carnival-type games were set-up by first-responders and the town of Dobson. As is usually the case at Dobson Square Park, the park’s splash-pad provided entertainment for many youngsters after the demonstration was complete.
According to Myers his department served more than 1,600 hot dogs at Tuesday evening’s event. Myers added that he estimates the number of visitors at the event to be between 1,400 and 1,800 people. “The line for hot dogs didn’t let-up until after 8 p.m. I’m absolutely happy with the turnout,” said Myers. Myers added that the event was the largest that has taken place at Dobson Square Park.
Though Myers and his officers spent the vast majority of their time at the event manning a grill, the chief said the purpose of the event was not lost in the process of mass producing hot dogs.
“It was great to be able to speak with people in the community in a one-on-one setting,” commented Myers. “All of my officers really enjoyed the event and the opportunity to interact with the public.”
The National Night Out festivities in Dobson were followed by a showing of The Incredibles at the park’s amphitheatre. According to Myers about 500 people stayed for the free movie night.
Andy Winemiller is a staff writer at the Mount Airy News. Andy can be reached at (336) 415-4698 or [email protected]