FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Fort Bragg public safety professionals celebrated National Night Out with hundreds of military Family members Aug. 3, at the post's Linden Oaks neighborhood.

The event is a time when neighbors can meet each other and build a sense of community, said Officer Kimberly M. Tatro, the event's organizer for the post's Provost Marshal Office.

Tatro said the event offers local residents, especially youngsters, the chance to meet police officers, firefighters and other first responders in a festive atmosphere.

Scarlett M. Tyner, a communications specialist with Picerne, said the Fort Bragg version of the National Night Out celebration rotates among the post's communities. Because more than 1,000 military Families live at Linden Oaks, it was a natural choice.

Inside the neighborhood's clubhouse, community groups staffed several booths, including the ChapelNext booth, where children could have their faces painted and the Army and Air Force Exchange booth, where Families signed up for prize drawings.

The biggest crowd in the clubhouse gathered in the main room where information packets were created with the EZChild Identification System for parents which included their children's fingerprints, photographs and other personal identifying data.

The information is printed for the parents for their files, so they have something to give police if their children are missing, said Investigator Patrick A. Creighon, of the post's military police investigations office. "The data is not saved. It is erased from the computer."

The PMO is the only law enforcement agency in North Carolina that offers parents packages created by this system, Tatro said.

One mother, Ashley C. Rouge, who lives at Linden Oaks with her two children and her husband, Staff Sgt. Nathan P. Rouge, said she has the data package done for their children before each permanent change of station move.

The Fort Bragg Fire Prevention Department trained more than 600 children on how to survive a house fire, said Lt. Steven C. Stewart, one of the members of the department who staffed a trainer that housed a miniature mock-up of a home's bedroom, living room and kitchen.

Stewart said children were brought into the trailer, where they were taught to learn their Family's exit plan, meeting spot and how to make a headcount of Family members.

After the short training, Stewart said the trailer was filled with smoke and the children were taught to crawl low through the mock-up, which including a fireplace. "We teach them to stay low and go."

In addition to the interactions with the public, Tatro said by taking part in the National Night Out, personnel from the various agencies meet each other, network and keep up-to-date with everyone's capabilities.

"This is the day we all look forward to," she said.

Page last updated Fri August 20th, 2010 at 09:46