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SERT Centre hosts firefit competition

By Stephanie Barrett

From Aug. 2-3, competitors from all across the country converged on the Marine Institute’s Safety and Emergency Response Training (SERT) Centre in Stephenville for the 2008 Canadian Firefit Atlantic Regional Event.

The competition is based on firefighting tasks commonly performed in emergency situations. The event served as a regional qualifying event for the national championship being held in Quinte West, Ont., later this year.

Both students and staff trained extremely hard for the event and tackled challenges which included: the stair climb, hose hoist, running, forcible entry, and victim rescue.

SERT Centre Manager Craig Harnum was excited to host the popular event again this year.

The event kicked off with individual competitions. Mr. Harnum competed in the chief’s division. In 2007, he won a Silver Medal in this division at the national competition in Halifax, N.S.

Other SERT Centre staff members also competed, including Mike Shannahan, Chris Young and Ian Gavet. This as the first year of individual competition for Mr. Young, while Mr. Shannahan competed as a student in 2007 at the national event in Halifax. Mr. Gavet complemented the SERT Staff Relay Team. Fifteen firefighting students currently enrolled in the Fire Rescue Program at the SERT Centre also competed.

The second event, the team relay, is comprised of three to five individuals to complete one or more of the five tasks. This is a highly skilled event. Finally, the NXG Relays involves two participants. One will have to don their SCBA at the start of the time clock and complete the first half of the course. Upon completion, the second competitor will remove the cylinder and have it placed on his/her back to go on to complete the second half of the course.

Firefit has specialized in presenting this flag ship event since 1994. The competition is recognized by fire departments not only in Canada but worldwide and once again the SERT Centre will get the opportunity to showcase their modern facilities and equipment.

The event was expected to draw between 80 and 85 participants from across eastern Canada.

The SERT Centre operates as a satellite campus of the Marine Institute’s Offshore Safety and Survival Centre in co-operation with the Stephenville Airport Corporation.

More information about the competition is available at