EDWARDSVILLE - Two fun opportunities for the community to interact with the Edwardsville Police and Fire Departments are coming up in early October.

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First up is National Night Out, which is marking its 40th year as a nationwide event connecting police and residents. The Edwardsville Police Department will host the event from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 3, at City Park, 101 S. Buchanan Street. The Glen Carbon Police Department, Edwardsville Fire Department and Illinois State Police also will participate.

The planned activities are free, including face painting, balloon animals, bounce houses, giveaways, a Child ID event and music. Police and fire vehicles will be on site for visitors to see. Free ice cream and hot dogs also will be available, thanks to the generous support of area sponsors.

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Then, on Saturday, Oct. 7, the annual Fire Department Open House will take place at the Public Safety Building, 333 S. Main Street. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and offer visitors the chance to check out this state-of-the-art facility, see fire and police equipment up close, take tours, watch demonstrations and interact with the firefighters and officers. For the second year, the Police Department will be partnering with the Fire Department on the event; both groups operate out of the Public Safety Building, which opened in 2017.

Fire Chief James Whiteford said the open house has been taking place “longer than anyone can remember,” and is a great “opportunity for the community to interact directly with the firefighters/paramedics and police and see that, just like them, we’re also a part of the community.”

New this year is a vehicle extrication demonstration, which Whiteford said helps show the depth of the department. “We’re a full-service department, handling all sorts of rescues. We’re not just putting out fires.”

Other planned highlights include a helicopter landing by Air Evac Lifeteam; an Illinois Secretary of State Bomb Squad vehicle; an appearance by search and rescue group SAR K9 Co-Op and care dogs from National Crisis Response Canines; a vintage ambulance; free refreshments and bike helmet giveaway. Edwardsville’s recent vehicle addition, a Rosenbauer King Cobra platform truck, which has an aerial reach of 105 feet, is expected to be on site. Chestnut Health Sytems also will participate with information on substance abuse and the overdose medication Narcan.

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