Fredericton fire department hosts FireFit Championship
As part of their year-long festivities to celebrate 200 years in operation, the Fredericton Fire Department is hosting the FireFit Championships.
It’s the first year since 2004 that the competition has been held in the New Brunswick capital.
FireFit is an obstacle and skill-testing course designed to mimic real-world situations encountered on the job by firefighters.
Men and women from all over the country compete in regional events throughout the year looking to log the best time and advance to the next round.
Fredericton is hosting 2017’s Southern Atlantic Regional competition this weekend, which includes over 80 competitors from across the country.
“It was an opportunity to showcase our department, our firefighters and our city,” explained Fredericton Assistant Deputy Fire Chief David McKinley. “And it’s also to show [spectators] the fitness level firefighters need to be able to do their job every day.”
FireFit is often called “the toughest two minutes in sports” due to the grueling, fast-paced race that requires proficiency in a number of firefighter-related tasks.
“Competitors take a 40-lb. hose pack up 60 steps,” explained Fredericton Firefighter Association President Evan Gilks. “Come down, move the sledge — which takes 500 lbs. of force — run down 150 feet, pull a charged hose line back down, spray it, then go over and grab Rescue Randy — which weighs 175 lbs. — and drag him 100 feet to the finish.”
For many of the athletes competing, it’s not their first time out of the gates.
Firefighters often train year-round to ensure that when the horn sounds, they are ready to go.
“Everyone wants to improve everyday,” Gilks explained.
Sydney, N.S. firefighter Hillary Tatlock competed recently and had hoped to shave a few seconds off her personal best this time around.
Unfortunately an injury prevented that from happening, but the disappointment didn’t dampen her spirits.
“I competed about two weeks ago in Dalhousie and did a personal best of 4:32,” she said. “Today I’m here with a sprained ankle and I did a time of 5:15 — so not where I wanted to be, but I finished, so it’s okay.”
Qualifying firefighters will have a chance to compete in the national FireFit event, which takes place September 6 in Ottawa.
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