Campus & Community

More than 250 first responders to compete at PBSC Invitational, May 1-6

Update: The Technical Rescue Training (TRT) competition sponsored by Elevated Safety had to be postponed. The other four competitions are taking place as scheduled. Visit PBSC Invitational website for links to daily photo albums and competition results. 

More than 65 teams, comprised of over 250 professional firefighters, police and paramedics from Tallahassee to Miami as well as Canada, will compete to see who can most capably and quickly solve complex rescue challenges at the Palm Beach State College Invitational, May 1-6.

This inaugural multidiscipline competition will be held at the Lake Worth campus of Palm Beach State College, the leading educator of public safety professionals in Palm Beach County. The challenges will take place daily at various times, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at the campus’s Public Safety Training Center, 4200 Congress Ave., except for one competition that will be in the City of Lake Worth Beach, which is partnering with PBSC to host the event.

The public is welcome to observe the competitions at no charge. The event schedule, updates and sponsorship information can be found at

The Palm Beach State College Invitational stands apart from other such competitions by featuring five types of public safety challenges in one event: vehicle extrication, rope rescue, rapid intervention rescue, EMS challenge, and motorcycle riding. The competitions will simulate real-world emergency incidents and use mannequins as well as PBSC public safety students to portray victims. Each will start with 12-18 teams competing in a preliminary round and conclude with 4-5 teams competing in the final round. Winners will receive trophies.

The Palm Beach State College Invitational, May 1-6, will be based at the Public Safety Training Center on the College’s Lake Worth campus.

In addition to the City of Lake Worth Beach, more than 10 event sponsors are supporting the invitational. Three sponsors will serve as competition presenters and judges, as well as conduct training sessions for the participants:

  • North American Vehicle Rescue Association will sponsor the vehicle extrication competition May 2-4. NAVRA is a nonprofit organization that prepares firefighters and road rescuers for extrication challenges through training and competition. The Palm Beach State College Invitational will host the NAVRA National Rescue Challenge 2023, and the winner will participate in the NAVRA World Rescue Challenge 2023 in Lanzarote, Spain.
  • Elevated Safety will sponsor the Technical Rescue Training (TRT) competition May 2-3, in which teams showcase their technical rescue skills in rope rescue, confined space rescue and rope access scenarios. Elevated Safety provides the highest level of training in confined space and rope access, as well as rescue services across all industries.
  • Florida RIT Operations Group will sponsor the Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) competition May 3-4 in front of the Lake Worth Beach Casino Building. Also known as Rapid Intervention Crew (RIC), these teams/crews of firefighters are designated to be rapidly deployed to rescue lost or trapped firefighters. Florida RIT Operations Group is the nation’s only RIT competition organizer.

The Panther EMS Challenge (May 5) and Motorcycle Riding Challenge (May 6) will be organized by Palm Beach State Colleges’ Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Law Enforcement faculty and staff.

Free event parking is available at the Blue Lot on the Lake Worth campus, which is opposite the Public Safety Training Center. Greeters will be outside to assist spectators, as well as in the lobby of the complex’s conference center (PSD building). There are paid parking options on the beach property for the RIT competition.

Palm Beach State College has held competitions in the past and its instructors and students have competed in and won competitions around the state, but given the resources of the 143,000-square-foot Public Safety Training Center, the goal has always been to host something bigger.

“Since there is no TRT competition in the southeast, we felt we could fill a void, and given the size of our complex, we thought this was the perfect venue for bringing all disciplines together, while raising awareness of the public safety programs we have at Palm Beach State,” said David Hamel, PBSC’s Fire Academy director. “We also hope to reinforce our strong relationships with public safety agencies. We train the people they employ and by hosting this multiday, multidiscipline competition, we support their mission and ours.”

Palm Beach State is the college of choice for students preparing for careers in public safety. PBSC offers degree and certificate programs in criminal justice, emergency medical services (including EMT and paramedic) and fire science/firefighting as well as various advanced, cross-over and career programs, such as Public Safety Telecommunications, which trains 911 dispatchers.

Visit for more information about the event.

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