Hants County firefighters reviving once-popular pumper duty races

Published on April 20, 2017

WINDSOR, N.S. — Hants County firefighters are getting ready to show off their skills this June when they host a provincial pumper duty race at the Hants County Exhibition Grounds.

The inaugural Hants County pumper duty race and show and shine will be held June 17 and will feature teams of firefighters from across the province competing for bragging rights.

Invitations have been sent to neighbouring fire departments, with a few already indicating they'll enter the competition. Brooklyn, Hantsport and Windsor are jointly hosting the competition — and all have firefighters eager to take part.

“This was a big thing in this area and in Bedford in the '80s and early '90s,” said Windsor Deputy Fire Chief Jamie Juteau, who is helping to organize the event.

“It gives a good chance to showcase some basic skill sets that you have to have in the fire service,” he said. “They're putting on breathing apparatus, driving the truck, hooking into a water supply, and pulling fire hose – really basic things you'd do in a house fire is all part of this event.”

Brooklyn driver Greg Hazel, who used to compete in the former pumper duty races, is taking the lead on organizing the event. He said it offers a great chance for the public to see firefighters in action — and it boosts camaraderie between firefighters.

“With everything that's happened in the municipality in the last year, I thought it would be a good morale builder and a good thing to bring the community back as one,” said Hazel.

“The duty races is to see what training we do go through each and every week to do what we do,” he added.

It costs $100 to participate in the pumper duty race, but it is free to watch. The show and shine, which is also free, will feature fire trucks and apparatus from throughout the province, as well as a variety of vehicles used by first responders and similar organizations, including the Department of Natural Resources, Emergency Health Services and Ground Search and Rescue. There will also be a bouncy castle on site, a barbecue, and in the evening, an awards ceremony.

Each pumper race requires a five-member team if they're using their own truck. Hazel and Juteau said they will have a truck and driver available if some fire departments can't commit to bringing a vehicle.

“We don't want to preclude anybody from participating so one of our qualified drivers (using) one of our apparatus will allow them to run the course,” said Juteau, noting some smaller stations can't free up a vehicle for special events.

The deadline to enter is May 1. The rain date for the competition is June 24.

“If we can, we'd like to make this an annual event,” said Hazel.

For more information about the event, or to register, visit the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/390722091301697/.