SOUTH OGDEN -- Children sat along the curb Tuesday in front of a large hook and ladder fire truck and an old car and watched with mouths open as firefighters flattened the car's tires, broke its windows and used all tools necessary to drag a pretend person out of a car to demonstrate how firefighters work to save lives.
The demonstration was a small part of South Ogden's participation in the nation's 28th annual National Night Out. Communities nationwide participated in the event with other local entities across Utah.
Marci Edwards, director of department affairs for the South Ogden Police Department, said it was South Ogden's third year participating. Edwards said the department has always tried to hold safety evenings, but it made sense to participate in the national night and to get as many community partners as possible to participate.
The national event encourages people to lock their doors and leave their homes for a few hours to find out what services their communities provide.
Life Flight was on hand for a short time until it was called away to an emergency in Box Elder County. The Safe Kids organization passed out bright yellow backpacks that said, "Seatbelts Keep me Safe. I promise to always buckle up" with a spot at the bottom where children could sign their names.
South Ogden city participated with a booth as well as many divisions of the police and fire departments. A large climbing wall and bounce house were also big hits with the kids.
Lori Walton brought her family last year and was excited to participate again. Her children snacked on free hot dogs while discussing what booth they would visit first.
Walton said the seat belt education made a huge impact on her children last year.
"They learned so much about seat belts last year the never take them off," she said. She figures if her kids can get that kind of positive information, it is worth it to bring them.
"It's a free night for the kids and it is so much fun," Walton said.
Becky Nelson watched as her grandchildren ran to the police dog demonstration. Her son is a South Ogden police officer and her husband also worked for the department, so she enjoys bringing her grandchildren to see all the tasks police officers do.
"I don't know if everyone knows what police really do and how they work and the good things they do," Nelson said.
Cindee Paulsen is the community police coordinator and the main organizer of the Night Out event.
"We want them to know we're the good guys here and we are here to help," Paulsen said of the Night Out and the police and fire departments. Both she and Edwards emphasized that community members should know that law enforcement and its entities want to partner with people in the community.
"We want to let them know what services we have to offer," Edwards said.
But it's also important for the community to understand its help is needed, Paulsen added.
"They are our eyes and ears and can tell us what is going on," Paulsen said.
People crowded around each booth and asked questions ranging from animal control issues to finding out where they could obtain emergency preparedness kits. Others filled out safety information for their children and bought bike helmets.
McKell Carter's dad is a South Ogden firefighter and she looks forward to the night each year.
The 11-year-old enjoys watching her dad tear apart the old car and show everyone the kind of work he does. She likes watching that and watching the firefighters repel off the ladder truck. She smiled as she talked about the varied events she participated in, like face painting and dinner.
"We are checking everything out," she said.