'Safety Saturday:' New Berlin first responders offer hands-on event

NEW BERLIN, Wis. - New Berlin first responders will let the public get hands-on experience with their trucks on Saturday, May 18 to cap National Police Week.

"Safety Saturday" has been an annual fixture in the New Berlin community for decades, but it wasn't until four years ago that an "armored star" emerged.

"It’s going to be a safe way to explore these vehicles, see what’s inside them," said Officer Tony Fus.

SIGN UP TODAY: Get daily headlines, breaking news emails from FOX6 News

Fus showed FOX6 the police department's $300,000 rescue vehicle, which is shared with nine other police departments in the area as part of the Suburban Critical Response Team.

"It’s either being deployed for an actual call for service, which happens approximately 25 times a year, or it’s on a training mission," Fus said. "The kids run up to this.  This is the thing they want to see."

<div>Officer Tony Fus with New Berlin Police Department rescue vehicle</div>
Officer Tony Fus with New Berlin Police Department rescue vehicle

Firefighter-paramedic Nadia Voytovicht said there’s a more important message behind Safety Saturday.

"Once you see a little kid look at you, and you just know they see you differently," she said.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Get breaking news alerts in the FOX6 News app for iOS or Android.

Voytovicht wants to encourage more girls to become firefighters; meeting firefighters when she was a kid inspired her to become one.

"We go into their homes in some of the worst times," she said. "It’s really nice for them to have a face and name to who we are."

First responders want everyone to know they care about their community’s safety on and off the clock.

Click to open this PDF in a new window.

"We believe we can’t do our job and keep the community safe without the community’s collaboration," Fus said.

A fleet of thermal imaging drones, which the police and fire departments share, will also be on display. First responders will give out free bicycle helmets, too, and firefighters will be collecting jars of peanut butter to donate to New Berlin’s food pantry.

The event will take place in the Children's Wisconsin New Berlin parking lot from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. Meanwhile, at Red Arrow Park, Milwaukee's Department of Public Works will host "Big Truck Day." Both events are free.