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Tyndall hosts annual National Night Out

Firefighter and child

A firefighter assists a child with aiming a fire hose during the National Night Out that was hosted near the Balfour Beatty Community Center, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 3, 2017. During the event, members of Tyndall community were able to bring thier families out to the event that brought together multiple law enforcement and first responder agencies from the Bay County, Florida, area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Solomon Cook)

Dunk tank

An attendee of the the Tyndall National Night Out prepares to take aim at an individual in a dunk tank near the Balfour Beatty Community Center, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, during the event Oct. 3, 2017. The National Night Out event entertained members of the community with various games and attractions to help educate younger children on the duties of first responders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Solomon Cook)

Helicopter

A Bay County, Florida, Sheriff Department helicopter flies over an empty area near the Balfour Beatty Community Center, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, prior to landing during the National Night Out Oct. 3, 2017. During the event, members from various first responder agencies around Bay County volunteered their time to educate a younger generation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Solomon Cook)

McGruff the Crime Dog

McGruff the Crime Dog climbs out of a helicopter shortly after arriving to the National Night Out hosted near the Balfour Beatty Community Center, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 3, 2017. McGruff and other characters at the event aimed at educating the youth about the responsibilties and duties of first responders who volunteered their time during the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Solomon Cook)

Cake

A volunteer at the National Night Out passes a piece of cake to an attendee during the event hosted near the Balfour Beatty Community Center, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, Oct. 3, 2017. During the event, patrons were treated to free food and dessert. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Solomon Cook)

Helicopter

A Shandscair helicopter from the University of Florida Critical Care Transport Program, lands in an open area near the Balfour Beatty Community Center, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, as part of the Tyndall National Night Out Oct. 3, 2017. The National Night Out is an event hosted by the 325th Security Forces Squadron to educate and entertain members of the Tyndall community and their families on the duties of first responders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Solomon Cook)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

As the sun goes down over the Tyndall Base Housing Community, children put on their firefighter hats and put out a simulated blaze under the watchful eye of professional firefighters during a base community police sponsored event Oct. 3, National Night Out.

The event focused on the importance of the community and knowledge of first responder duties, and allowed military members to socialize with coworkers, friends, and family.

“The purpose of the National Night Out is to bridge the gap between the community and law enforcement,” said Tech. Sgt. Jessica Soto, 325th Security Forces Squadron community police noncommissioned officer in charge. “It’s to memorialize the job we do as law enforcement and first responders. It also brings everyone together and shows any criminal or criminal activity is not tolerated in our community.”

As the event ramped up, attendees were entertained at various stations set up by local community first responders. At one station, children were able to use a fire hose to put out a simulated fire.

“We have almost every agency in Bay County here, and we also have a few from Franklin County,” said Staff Sgt. Kelsey Bauers, 325th SFS community police assistance NCO in charge. “We are focusing on the ‘one team, one fight’ mentality. This brings us all together. All of us do the same job -- just at different levels. It’s always good to have that partnership with off-base agencies.”

The event was hosted from 5 p.m. to approximately 8 p.m. to ensure the maximum number of Airmen could attend.

“The event was a free family event,” Soto said. “This allows us to show the younger generation we are not agencies to be afraid of. It’s something I want them to know, and that they should embrace us.”

Those in attendance touted the social aspect of the event and the partnership between the Tyndall AFB Housing Community and the 325th Security Forces Squadron community police.

“This [National Night Out] was fun,” said a child in attendance. “My favorite part was shooting the fire hose and giving McGruff [the Crime Dog] a high-five.”

With this year’s National Night Out concluded, the 325th SFS community police office looks forward to next year and hopes to share their message with an even bigger crowd.

“The most important thing for them to know is we are here to help them, and if they need help, they can reach out to us at any time,” Soto said. “The best way to explain what a first responder does is to get out in the community and show our people, and I think we did that in a fun way.”