There will be a very low risk of fire at Confederation Park in Hawkesbury on September 10, when dozens of firefighters from across the region gather for the third annual Hawkesbury Fire Department (HFD) Combat Challenge. Registration opens at 11 a.m. and the event starts at 1 p.m.

Fire departments in Prescott-Russell and surrounding areas in eastern Ontario and western Quebec are invited to participate in the combat challenge. So far, the Hawkesbury, Vankleek Hill, L’Orignal, Ingleside, the Nation Township, Casselman and Clarence-Rockland fire departments have all confirmed. The list keeps growing. The event is open to the public and food and refreshments will be available on site.

There will be inflatable games for the children to bounce on and there will also be a mini combat challenge where children can compete in firefighter drills.

The goal of the combat challenge is to run firefighters through a simulation of an emergency. Different fire departments compete against each other as groups and as individuals.

“During the challenge, firefighters will carry a hose on their shoulders and climb two or three flights of stairs. At the top, they drop the hose pack, unroll the hoses and then run back down the stairs. They have to hit a black pole (representing a blocked passage) and then run 100 metres to a charge hose line. They drag the hose 100 metres more and then have to turn the water on and hit a target. They run back dragging a 185-pound dummy,” said event spokesperson Marc Bellefeuille.

Bellefeuille said that the entire course should take between two and three minutes to complete. Firefighters run the course wearing complete bunker suits, air tanks and other standard firefighting equipment. The total weight of their gear alone is in excess of 100 pounds.

Fire departments who would like to participate in the challenge are asked to email Marc Bellefeuille at [email protected], Pat Mayer at [email protected], or Stéphane “Bastoon” Bastien at [email protected]