Campus & Community

PBSC to host South Florida’s biggest, action-packed competition for first responders

The Vehicle Extrication Challenge was a highlight of the inaugural 2023 Palm Beach State College Invitational and will return this year, sponsored by the Transportation Emergency Rescue Committee.

Think of it as the Olympics for first responders. At the Palm Beach State College Invitational, Monday, April 29, through Saturday, May 4, more than 50 teams of 400 professional firefighters and paramedics from Tallahassee to Miami as well as Canada will battle it out to see who can best solve complex rescue challenges—and the public is welcome to come and watch.

This second annual invitational will be held at the Lake Worth campus of Palm Beach State College, the county’s leading educator of public safety professionals. It is the only competition in the U.S. to feature five types of public safety challenges in one event: vehicle extrication, rope rescue, rapid intervention rescue, advanced life support (ALS) and a firefighter challenge. Events simulate real-world emergency scenarios with PBSC public safety students portraying the victims. Each event starts with 10-24 teams competing in a preliminary round and concludes with 4-5 teams reaching the finals. Winners will receive trophies and go on to national competitions.

“This year we have upped our game,” said David Hamel, PBSC’s Fire Academy director. “Every day is action-packed, full of exciting events, and this year we’ve added educational opportunities for our teams free of charge.”

Free to the public, the invitational offers spectators a fun-filled kids’ zone where aspiring junior firefighters can test their skills, and food trucks will be on-site. The event schedule, updates and sponsorship information can be found at: www.palmbeachstate.edu/PBSCInvitational .

At the 2024 PBSC Invitational, the Rapid Intervention Team Challenge (RIT) will again be sponsored by the Florida RIT Operations Group, the nation’s only RIT competition organizer.

The challenges will take place daily at various times, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at the campus’s 143,000-square-foot 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. Free shuttles will run between the campus and Lake Worth Beach May 2-3.

In addition to the City of Lake Worth Beach, more than 28 event sponsors are supporting the invitational. Four will serve as competition presenters:

  • Transportation Emergency Rescue Committee (TERC) will sponsor the vehicle extrication competition April 30-May 2. TERC is a nonprofit organization that prepares firefighters and road rescuers for extrication challenges through training and competition. The winner of each division will go on to the national TERC rescue challenge.
  • Elevated Safety will sponsor the Technical Rescue Team (TRT) competition May 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 2-3 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. This will be in the City of Lake Worth Beach in front of the Casino.
  • Firefighter Challenge League will sponsor what is known as the “toughest two minutes in sports.” This event pits elite firefighter against each other—and the clock—in a skills-based challenge course featuring high-rise pack carry, hose hoist, forcible entry, hose advance, and victim rescue. The competitor with the best time within each division qualifies for the national firefighter challenge.
The 2024 PBSC Invitational will feature challenging paramedic scenarios.

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 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 www.palmbeachstate.edu/PBSCInvitational for more information about the event and to see a video of last year’s inaugural PBSC Invitational.

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