WHEATON, Ill. - Local county police, fire and other rescue and community organizations whose responsibility it is to provide a safe and secure environment took part in an awareness day that attracted over 5,000 visitors.
Safety Saturday began as a program to promote safety and encourage interaction between emergency organizations and the public.
Soldiers from the 416th Theater Engineer Command participated showing Army capabilities and to inform the public of the Army's dedication to supporting the community.
The Army brought an M113 armored personnel carrier, M916 light equipment transporter and an M997 maxi-ambulance, 4-litter, basic armor to the display. Forces, when conducting combat operations, use this equipment readily, and its usage can be modified as needed when responding under the guidelines set forth by the Defense Support of Civil Authorities, signed in the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, to support civilian organizations in the event of a natural disaster or terrorist attack.
"Bringing this equipment makes the public more aware of the capabilities of the unit," said Sgt. Joshua Mabus, 416th Theater Engineer Command, wheeled vehicle mechanic. "I'm here to fix the vehicles if needed and tell how we use them."
Mabus demonstrated the equipment to visitors at the Army display. He allowed them to try on communication helmets and touch and feel the truck to get an understanding of this vehicle.
Redefining the role of the Army Reserve in a domestic posture necessitates a look at the current laws and requires the state governor to clearly state and define the need for the use of assets from the secretary of defense.
"The Army Reserve's presence at the event helped to provide more visibility to the public on the military, our equipment and the life we live while in a field environment. The vehicles and static displays were selected to better show how austere the living and working environment can be for Soldiers," said Capt. Robert Mikyska, company commander, 416th Theater Engineer Command, Darien, Illinois.
The emergency organizations present were from local police, fire, medical and other support organizations. Canine units, fire and arson units and a police helicopter demonstrated some abilities to support the public during the exhibits that showed response ability to the community.