Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times
                                Four-year-old Atreyu Corpuz of Oak Harbor smiles as he stands inside a MRAP vehicle. Oak Harbor Police Department Chaplin Ron Lawler made sure he entered and exited the vehicle safely.

Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times Four-year-old Atreyu Corpuz of Oak Harbor smiles as he stands inside a MRAP vehicle. Oak Harbor Police Department Chaplin Ron Lawler made sure he entered and exited the vehicle safely.

National Night Out deemed a success

The smoke crept under the door, slowly filling the air in the small bedroom. Children quickly stuffed bed sheets and towels in the door crack, hoping to clear the air before the haze got too thick. A fire alarm beeped loudly in the background.

It was all part of a simulation put on by the Navy Region Northwest Fire Emergency and Services in a trailer called E.D.I.T.H., or “exit drills in the home,” at the 35th annual National Night Out, held at Fort Nugent Park in Oak Harbor.

Hundreds of people gathered for the event which educated children and adults on crime prevention, safety and the jobs of local law enforcement and military.

At the E.D.I.T.H. trailer, Fire Inspector Cliff Foley taught young visitors and their parents how to use the back of their hand to feel whether the door was hot and how to escape out of a window when it was too hot.

“Fire is not nice. It doesn’t care what time of the day it is, whether you are awake or asleep,” Foley said. “Fire is scary and smoke will kill you.”

The best part of the National Night Out was getting to interact with the public, Fire Inspector Jeff Porter said, and he enjoyed getting to catch up with other fire and law personnel.

In opening statements, Oak Harbor Mayor Bob Severns said the event was meant to “strengthen neighborhood spirit” and “send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are organized and fighting crime.”

Other emergency response groups that attended the event included North Whidbey Fire and Rescue, the Oak Harbor Police Department, Island County Emergency Management, Oak Harbor Fire Department and the Island County Sheriff’s Department.

In addition to law enforcement, Island County Amateur Radio, the American Red Cross, Naval Criminal Investigative Services, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Island County, Island County Juvenile and Court Services, and Habitat for Humanity of Island County were some of the other groups in attendance.

Visitors agreed that this National Night Out was a well-done event.

“I like all of the resources and I love how interactive they all are,” Megan Stolle of Oak Harbor said.

Amanda Martin of Coupeville said she hadn’t been the annual event in a couple of years.

“It’s a lot better this year,” Martin said.

The Oak Harbor Police Explorers had a booth where people could try on a pair of goggles that mimicked the effect of being drunk.

For 11-year-old Devin McClellan of Oak Harbor, walking a straight line, shooting mini-basketballs into a basket and kicking a small soccer ball into a goal was no problem.

Then he tried on the goggles.

He stumbled and tripped on the line this time, uncertainly shooting baskets and missing.

“It felt weird and I didn’t feel like myself,” McClellan said.

At another station, Oak Harbor Police Department Chaplain Ron Lawler gently helped children into the “MRAP,” a bullet-proof rescue vehicle.

“They get such a kick out of climbing into here,” Lawler said.

“It takes a bit of the mystique out of law enforcement and we enjoy it too.”

• Reporter Laura Guido contributed to this article.

Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times
                                Connor Reeed, seven, of Oak Harbor enjoys the chance to beat up padded Cole Phillips of the U.S Customs and Border Protection, Blaine.

Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times Connor Reeed, seven, of Oak Harbor enjoys the chance to beat up padded Cole Phillips of the U.S Customs and Border Protection, Blaine.

Petty Officer Nate Lofton makes sure 6-year-old Andersen Stolle doesn’t fall off the Coast Guard boat as he tries on one of the helmets. The boat and equipment were one of many interactive law enforcement displays at the National Night Out Tuesday at Fort Nugent. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Petty Officer Nate Lofton makes sure 6-year-old Andersen Stolle doesn’t fall off the Coast Guard boat as he tries on one of the helmets. The boat and equipment were one of many interactive law enforcement displays at the National Night Out Tuesday at Fort Nugent. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Eight-year-old Isaiah Anderson, left, and 5-year-old Jumar Davis try on Coast Guard equipment with the help of Petty Officer Nate Lofton Tuesday night at Fort Nugent. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Eight-year-old Isaiah Anderson, left, and 5-year-old Jumar Davis try on Coast Guard equipment with the help of Petty Officer Nate Lofton Tuesday night at Fort Nugent. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Sawyer Jackson, 4, checks out a North Whidbey Fire and Rescue boat Tuesday night at Fort Nugent during Oak Harbor’s annual participation in National Night Out. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Sawyer Jackson, 4, checks out a North Whidbey Fire and Rescue boat Tuesday night at Fort Nugent during Oak Harbor’s annual participation in National Night Out. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

WhidbeyHealth EMS Paramedic Robert May helps Olive Hammond, center, and her sister Emily Hammond perform CPR on a dummy Tuesday night at Oak Harbor’s National Night Out. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

WhidbeyHealth EMS Paramedic Robert May helps Olive Hammond, center, and her sister Emily Hammond perform CPR on a dummy Tuesday night at Oak Harbor’s National Night Out. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Trini Garcia, 3, poses for a super photo Tuesday night at Fort Nugent. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Trini Garcia, 3, poses for a super photo Tuesday night at Fort Nugent. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

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