A good place to be in an emergency

Words and photos by Dave Barry

Armed police mingled with other emergency services at a multi-agency display on the Sands piazza in Scarborough’s north bay.

Two firearms officers who declined to be named wore jackets which were four stones in weight.

Each was weighed down by a Heckler & Koch rifle, a Glock 17 pistol in a hard belt-holster, a spare pistol magazine and body armour which would stop a 9mm bullet but not a rifle round.

Their kit included a taser, pepper spray, an extendable baton, plastic and metal handcuffs, a video camera and a radio torch.

Needless to say, the only use to which this impressive armoury was put at the event was to be described to anyone with an interest.

Organised by the fire brigade, the event was towered over by a 32m aerial ladder platform which extended from one of three fire engines present. Other fire-service equipment included a life-size dummy horse with articulated limbs, used for exercises; fire crews are often called out to rescue animals in various predicaments.

A high-tech speed-detector vehicle was complemented by a motorway-based Highways England Land Rover. Traffic officer Kim Gardner let countless children including Scarlett Cossou-Leake, a big fan of the emergency services, operate the switches controlling the flashing lights in various phases.

Lighthearted inter-agency contests introduced a little levity to the occasion. The coastguards and the mountain-rescue team raced each other to blow up their inflatable rafts, although both sides appear to have cheated by using CO2 canisters, if a film on the coasties’ Facebook page is to be believed. The police and fire services challenged each other to a bag-throwing competition.

Also present were the yellow Yorkshire Air Ambulance van, with its spinning fake rotor blades; lifeboat crew members and lifeguards; and Bikeability, using a badly damaged child’s bike to illustrate bicycle safety and maintenance.