Members of the Fredericton Fire Department are busy preparing to host and compete in the 2017 Southern Atlantic Regional FireFit competition next weekend in the capital city.
The competition features seven challenges including a hose hoist, stair climb with a 45-lb high-rise pack hose and a tower descent along with a simulated forcible entry, and a run around hydrants. The competition ends with a 100-foot victim rescue of a 175 lb dummy. There are individual and team competitors, as well as relay teams taking part.
Competitors must complete the challenges wearing full gear including a Scott breathing apparatus.
The competition is open to all active, medically cleared structural firefighters over the age of 19. It’s a competition often referred to as the “most difficult two minutes in sports.”
Fredericton assistant deputy fire chief David McKinley said the competition highlights the importance of fitness in firefighting and showcases the demands of the job.
McKinley has done approximately 100 competitions and has competed in nationals seven times, and five times at the international level.
He said the event encourages members to improve their fitness level and stay at a heightened level of fitness, which makes it easier on fire calls.
“It’s very realistic when it comes to working a very involved structure fire where it’s all hands on deck and working on a large incident,” McKinley said.
McKinley said elite firefighters can get through the course in under two minutes, but said up to seven minutes, 30 seconds is an acceptable time.
Fredericton firefighter Anthony Storey said this will be his third time competing. He aiming to run through the course in about one minute, 30 seconds.
“As firefighters it’s important we stay physically fit,” Storey said. “It’s a demanding job so whenever we get called out to a fire we go from sitting in our station to full out intensity, so it’s good to be able to train your body to handle that intensity.”
WATCH: Two male firefighters run the 2013 course in Edmonton
Fredericton Fire Fighters’ Association president Evan Gilks said it’s crucial firefighters are in good health and are in good shape.
“I think overall health of firefighters is an important issue,” Gilks said.
He said cardiac arrest is the number two killer of firefighters across North America, second to cancer.
Craig Buck competed in the FireFire competition last year, and will have to sit this year out due to a shoulder injury. He agrees fitness is extremely important in keeping firefighters on the job.
“Every aspect of this Firefit is job-related and you’re doing it in bunker gear, so if you’re doing it in this you’re gonna have no problem at a fire.”
WATCH: Two female firefighters run the 2013 course in Edmonton
The challenge will be hosted behind Fredericton City Hall next weekend.