BAYONNE, NJ - Local first responders descended on Bayonne’s 16th Street Park Thursday, but instead of engines revving and sirens blaring as might be expected, the gathering, known as “Calming Sirens”, took on a much more subdued tone.

“The event was fantastic for kids to get to know our first responders on a one to one basis," Elisha DeMaria, one of the event’s organizers said. “Since these children are some of the most vulnerable in our community, they need to feel comfortable interacting with first responders and helpers should they ever be in need.”

Along with Bayonne Police Officer Michael Elia, DeMaria, communications officer for the Bayonne Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC), put the event together to allow for fun interaction between local special needs children and and emergency personnel. This year marked the second annual Calming Sirens event.

Among the dignitaries to join in the festivities along with dozens of families, as well members of the Bayonne Police Department, Bayonne Fire Department, McCabe Ambulance, and Bayonne’s Office of Emergency Management was Mayor Jimmy Davis who flashed a smile and said  “This is Bayonne! Everyone is included in our great little community. Seeing these kids smile is beautiful!”