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East Longmeadow readies for annual National Night Out

July 31, 2014 | Chris Maza

EAST LONGMEADOW – For the ninth year in a row, East Longmeadow will play host to National Night Out (NNO).

The program, in which public safety agencies nationwide have taken part for 31 years, is intended to offer residents the opportunity to get to know and be comfortable with their local first responders.

The event, which is completely free to the public, will take place Aug. 5 at 5:30 p.m. at East Longmeadow High School.

“[NNO] provides police and residents to have interaction,” Police Chief Douglas Mellis said. “It’s also an opportunity for us to show the public the capabilities our police and fire departments have in the event of an emergency.”

Mellis said the event would be very similar to years’ past with the Massachusetts State Police and East Longmeadow Fire Department also playing an active role in the festivities. Weather permitting, the State Police Airwing Section, whose local personnel are stationed at Westover Air Reserve Base, will be on hand. A K-9 unit demonstration will also take place, courtesy of the State Police.

“Having the Airwing there is a great opportunity to show how we can work with the State Police through direct contact with the helicopter during operations,” Mellis said. “The K-9 demonstration, among other things, can help children see that these aren’t vicious animals, but ones that are there to help and protect. We receive the help of the K-9 unit for several kinds of situations.”

The Fire Department will also perform its annual vehicle extrication demonstration, in addition to providing hot dogs.

Mellis credited Sue and Al Grimaldi for their work in organizing the event, adding that members of the Police Department and Fire Chief Paul Morrissette played a significant role in the planning.

Per usual, local religious organizations and other community groups will have booths offering a wide range of programs and giveaways for both kids and adults.

Mellis also noted that the event has garnered an increased number of local businesses interested in participating over the years.

“We’ve certainly received more and more support for the businesses in town,” he said. “While it’s not a focus for the event, it can especially be a good opportunity for newer businesses to introduce themselves to the public.”

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