Thinkwater West Coast Firefighter Combat Challenge was held last weekend. Dubbed the “toughest 2 mins in sport” it was everything its name claimed it might be.
The challenge kicked off at 12pm at the Paparoa Range School in Dobson, just outside of Greymouth.
It was a great turnout – not just firefighters from the West Coast but from Canterbury too – Lincoln, Southbridge and Christchurch Airport coming across the mountains to test their combat skills and fitness.
The Challenge is designed to encourage firefighter fitness and boy are they fit. These guys are tough – really tough and it is awesome to get a chance to see just what they have to be able to endure and put their bodies through.
The fire fighters are fully kited out in bunker gear and then have to simulate the physical demands of real-life firefighting – yikes.
There is an individual competition that is definitely the toughest as that also includes wearing and using the Scott 5.5 Air-Pak breathing apparatus.
The tandem and relay events are definitely tough too having to wear the bunker gear but not the breathing apparatus.
The competitors then race head-to-head as they simulate the physical demands of real-life firefighting by performing a linked series of five tasks including:
Climbing a 5 story tower carrying a length of 70mm 19kg flaked hose
Hoisting a 70mm hose coil 5 storys
Chopping using a 4kg shot hammer to drive a beam 1.5 metres
Extending a charged length of 45mm hose to knock down a disc
and then if that wasn’t enough dragging a life-sized dummy (weighing a hefty 175lb!) a distance of 30.5m
All the while racing against themselves, their opponent and the clock. Yep not for the faint-hearted.
The camaraderie amongst the competitors was awesome to see – egging each other one, offering words of encouragement.
It is fabulous that they open this up for the public to experience and see just what is involved in becoming a firefighter. These guys put their lives on the line and for the most part are volunteers. It is hard work – it is a big committment but there were smiles all round and we feel so priviliged to have such amazing people looking out for us. Thanks to all the fire fighters – world wide but for us, especially in NZ and especially on the West Coast and while we appreciate all that they do and enjoy watching their skills competitions, I hope I never have to meet them in a real life situation.
Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. They enjoy getting out and about and supporting local events.