Demonstrations, informative tours punctuate 9-1-1 Awareness Day

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A Delaware State Police K-9 sinks his teeth into a pretend perpetrator, played by state police Cpl. Matt Blakeman, in one of the K-9 demonstrations Thursday at 9-1-1 Awareness Day. (Sussex County Post/Glenn Rolfe).

GEORGETOWN – “Oki” is a Delaware State Police K-9 who has a nose for criminal activity – and opening patrol car doors.

To the amazement of Thursday’s 9-1-1 Awareness Day audience that included fifth graders from several Sussex County schools, Oki on command hoofed to his human comrade’s patrol car, nudged the door handle and jumped in.

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Sussex County EMS paramedic Lewis Sacks shares information on EMS equipment to Georgetown Elementary fifth graders. (Sussex County Post/Glenn Rolfe).

“He uses his nose,” said Troop 7 state trooper Chris Middendorf – Oki’s handler and K-9 Unit comrade. “They are very, very smart dogs.”

Indeed, all eyes were on the expertly-trained canines and their teeth – and padded arms and legs of state police Cpl. Matt Blakeman, who played the pretend perpetrator in a series of K-9 demonstrations provided by Delaware State Police K-9 Units and the Town of Bridgeville Police Department.

This was the 16th annual 9-1-1 Awareness Day, hosted by the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center based at the county-owned airport.

It provided a behind-the-scenes look at how emergency dispatchers and first responders team up to save lives.

Outside the EOC, students witnessed the importance of buckling up at the Delaware State Police Seat Belt Demonstration Unit.

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Delaware State Police Cpl. Nicholas DeMalto of the Collision Reconstruction Unit shares the importance of wearing seat belts with students in the Seat Belt Demonstration.

Fifth graders – and their teachers – got to experience the impact of alcohol/drug impairment in Fatal Goggle demonstrations monitored by Delaware Alcohol Tobacco Enforcement agent Trey Moore, who encouraged kids to not give into peer pressure

“It’s not OK to drink alcohol,” he said. “You can’t let peer pressure get to you.”

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Delaware Alcohol Tobacco Enforcement agent Trey Moore monitors Georgetown Elementary teacher Conner David’s attempt at a field test while wearing Fatal Goggles that simulate impairment. (Sussex County Post/Glenn Rolfe).

EMS dispatcher Jason Faulkner, an assistant shift supervisor, provided the lowdown on the EOC, which serves as the beehive during major events such as blizzards and hurricanes.

State police dispatching serves Delaware State Police Troop 4 in Georgetown, Troop 5 in Bridgeville and Troop 7 in Lewes and 18 town police departments in Sussex.

The fire and ambulance side of dispatching works with 21 fire companies/departments, 21 ambulances, eight paramedic stations and two medical helicopters.

Add it up and center – manned around the clock 24/7, 365 days a year – receives anywhere from 28,000 to 30,000 calls annually, Mr. Faulkner said.

A dispatcher and member of the Indian River Volunteer Fire Company, Mr. Faulkner offered some simple but very important tips to students when making a 9-1-1 call.

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Among the attractions at 9-1-1 Awareness Day was the Sussex County Sheriff’s booth, manned from left by Sussex Sheriff Robert Lee, Tina Timmons (Office Manager/Sheriff Sale Specialist) and Chief Deputy Eric Swanson. (Sussex County Post/Glenn Rolfe).

“Stay calm … speak loud and clear … and don’t hang up,” said Mr. Faulkner, who also highlighted the County’s Smart911 – a supplemental data service that allows you to create a safety profile that can be seen by emergency responders when you call 9‑1‑1..

Smart911 was formally launched in September 2014.

9-1-1 Awareness Day was sponsored by Sussex County and Delaware State Police, which jointly operate the 911 center.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at

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