Wednesday, 21 September 2011 14:22

National FireFit Finalists converge on Medicine Hat

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By Rose Sanchez — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Firefighters from across Canada converged on Medicine Hat for four days of Firefit competition last week.

The city played host to the 2011 Canadian Badlands Firefit National Finals, Sept. 8-11. The event took organizers more than a year to plan, says Steve Seymour, a former Swift Current firefighter who now works in Medicine Hat.

Seymour and Jason Elder, who works for the National Defense Fire Department out of Suffield, worked together to help bring a countless number of sponsors, volunteers and the competitors together, much to the delight of spectators.

“It shows the public what firefighters might do during a (fire situation),” says Seymour, about the elements of the competition.

The fitness challenge pits competitors against one another in a job-related timed obstacle course. Firefighters wear full protective gear and a breathing apparatus to complete the course in the fastest time possible.

The competition involves six tasks:

• Stair climb: firefighters have to carry 42 pounds of stacked hose on their shoulders up six flights of stairs. Not one stair can be missed on the way down, otherwise a time penalty is handed out.

• Hose hoist: competitors haul a 45-pound roll of hose up to the top of the landing and place it in a box on the top of the tower.

• Forcible entry: firefighters wield an eight-pound mallet to move a beam past a decal.

• Run: competitors walk or run 140 feet as fast as they can around hydrants.

• Hose advance: a fully-charged hose is dragged for 75 feet and near the end, competitors hit a target with a water stream.

• Victim rescue: A 165-pound mannequin must be dragged backwards for 100 feet.

“It’s strenuous work,” says Seymour, about fighting fires.

He adds the competition also helps promote the importance of fitness among firefighters and creates a competitive spirit.

Thursday and Friday competitions were a chance for competitors to earn a spot in the finals on Saturday and Sunday.

It all took place in a large area of the southwest portion of the Medicine Hat Mall parking lot.

The events were free to the public and included fundraising initiatives for the Canadian Cancer Society, Medicine Hat Firefighter Burn Fund and Muscular Dystrophy.

For complete results from the weekend competition, see:

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