Emergency services at the ready for basketball tournament

NORWICH – Each year the downtown landscape of Norwich is transformed by the throngs of basketball enthusiasts for the Norwich Family YMCA’s annual Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament.

The event initially attracted 200 teams in its first tournament, but has bloomed over the last 15 years along with its affect on the local economy and community. Today, 434 teams will compete before thousands of spectators in an event propelled by hundreds of volunteers.

In getting ready for the event, Norwich Fire Chief Tracy Chawgo said local emergency officials and the YMCA prepared a certified state permit requiring a number of contingency and emergency plans.

“It’s about 10,000 people who are coming and going. Generally the hotels are all filled and local businesses do very well with all the foot traffic in the area. We typically plan that for each player, we figure at least eight other people will be coming to the event to watch,” he said.

Over the years, Chawgo explained the central location of the Norwich Fire Station has come to play an important role in the YMCA event. The Fire House is where teams register and is where the event’s emergency command center is located.

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