Children practiced what to do if they smelled smoke in their homes, they squirted real fire hoses and lined up for rides with their families on firetrucks that cruised the area near Fire Station No. 3 on Santa Barbara Drive.
Police volunteers took photos of children and provided free safety identification cards, and kids were able to check out the inside of an ambulance, the police helicopter or tour the fire and police stations. Jardo, the police dog, was there, along with animal control officers with pets available for adoption, and presentations from local wildlife expert Dick Newell of O.C. Trackers. There also were old-time police and fire vehicles on display.
Music blared, kids bought shaved ice and kettle corn and police officers made balloon hearts and animals and gave out candy treats. Even McGruff the Crime Dog was on hand, posing for photos and shaking hands. But public safety was the focus, with free blood pressure checks, information on ocean safety and other books set up all around the fire station and its back parking area.
The event is always popular with kids, with tons of photo ops for parents, said Jennifer Schulz, a fire department spokeswoman. She added that the event traditionally caps off the last day of Fire Prevention Week. October also is crime prevention week.