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Public safety skydive open to all

ORANGE — Some area firefighters and EMTs would like you to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, for safety’s sake.

The third annual Public Safety Skydive, July 28, will help make things safer for local rescue divers, who are raising money to buy a $12,000 underwater radio system.

“We work with the Northfield Dive Rescue Team a lot,” said Orange Fire Captain Jason Rushford. “We want to help them out, which helps the departments they assist.”

Rushford has organized the event since 2011. Previously, the event was only open to emergency responders, but this year, it’s open to thrill-seeking civilians as well.

“The first year, it was just for fun, as a de-stressor from the job,” he said. “Last year we raised money for the Fireground360 Relief Fund,” that benefits fire and disaster victims.

Fireground360 is a popular Facebook page run by emergency responders and dispatchers, that keeps fans updated on emergencies in western Massachusetts and beyond. Some of the site’s administrators will be around Saturday for a meet-and-greet.

If you’re not the sky-diving type, you can still get in on the fun. Spectators are welcome, and there will be plenty of room to watch as EMTs, firefighters and police play paratrooper. There will be raffles and light refreshments to flesh out the fundraiser, and Jumptown’s kitchen will be open for more substantial fare.

Rushford promises the event will be a good time, for a good cause. Besides, is there a safer way to skydive than with a professional parachutist strapped to your back and an EMT at your side the whole way down?

Skydivers joining Rushford and friends will enjoy the same discounted rate of $205 per person. The fee includes a training session, a tandem jump, and a one-way plane ride as high as 14,000 feet, depending on conditions.

Rushford advises people to be at Jumptown by 8 a.m. Last year, he said, the entire event was done by 2 p.m. How late it goes this year will depend on how many people register.

Jumptown will determine the amount to be donated after all have registered and the business calculates its fixed expenses for the day, like fuel and wages.

Registration deadline

To register, email publicsafetyskydive@gmail.com. The deadline for registration, and a nonrefundable $50 deposit to Jumptown Skydiving Center, is July 25.

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