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First Responders Challenge being held in Gander

Gander Fire Rescue.
Gander Fire Rescue. - SaltWire File Photo

A scheduled First Responders Challenge in Gander is hoping to show a different side of things. 

The idea behind the event is to give first responders in the community the chance to get together in a non-emergency capacity. 

A lot of times, the only chance the various groups — police, firefighters, paramedics and search and rescue — interact is during high-stress situations and they’re in the midst of their jobs. 

They don’t talk about their families or how their life is away from an accident scene. 

“It is a great opportunity to get together in a non-work capacity,” said one of the event organizers, Wanda-Lee Jenkins, who is a municipal enforcement officer in Gander. “We want to have a little fun with it.” 

Held at Cobbs Pond Rotary Park in Gander Oct. 6, the event will feature a number of challenges the teams will have to complete in order to win the day. Included is an obstacle course, tug of war, blind puzzle maze, a plank walk and a hula hoop throw. 

These teams will be made up of participants from the various first responder detachments in Gander. There are teams from the police, fire service and Central Health, as well as search and rescue that will be comprised of six to eight of their members. 

Organizers will welcome more to a team, but only the original amount can compete in any one event. Admission is a donation to the Kids Eat Smart program. 

The event is also a way to show the public what they do when they are called to a scene. There are plans to have mock accident in the afternoon as well as a visit from a Cormorant helicopter and a demonstration from the police service dog. 

“There is an educational component,” said Jenkins. “We want to show the public what we do.”   

There is also a chance an emergency call may the event to a halt. That's the world first responders live in as their personal lives and plans with family can be shattered with the ding of a pager. 

Jenkins recognizes this and hopes to see a day without an emergency. 

Festivities are scheduled to get underway at 1 p.m. on Oct. 6.

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