Three events test firefighters' strength, skill, stamina, co-ordination
Firefighters from Station 4 in Teeterville, left, prevailed in the water barrel competition this weekend during the Norfolk Firefighters Association’s annual skills competition. At right is the team from Station 2 in Port Dover. This year’s games were held at the Backus Heritage Conservation Area in Port Rowan. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER
Trophies and bragging rights were awarded this weekend during the Norfolk Firefighters Association’s annual Pump Competition.
The venue this year on a hot summer’s Saturday was the Backus Heritage Conservation Area north of Port Rowan. Firefighters and a few wannabes in full bunker gear braved the heat to compete in three skill-testing events.
A total of 10 teams took part. There were guest teams from Brant County and Bayham Township as well as a team of county brass led by Mayor Charlie Luke, county CAO Keith Robicheau and fire chief Terry Dicks.
One of the tests is the fire hose competition. Here, teams are challenged to knock down targets from assorted distances with a jet of water. The winner was the entry from Station 8 in Fairground.
Another event is the ever-popular water barrel competition. With the water barrel, six firefighters on each team face off with high-pressure hoses which they use to chase a steel keg up and down a length of cable.
The winner this year was the squad from Station 4 in Teeterville. In the final, the Teeterville contingent defeated the surprising rookie complement under the banner of Team Dicks.
“There’s a lot of skill involved,” said Cory Kovacs of the Teeterville station. “It’s all about hand-eye co-ordination.”
Teammate Harold Wood added that endurance and upper body strength are factors as well.
“That’s a long time on a hot day like today to hold your arms up like that,” Wood said.
Wives, girlfriends and daughters of participating firefighters also suited up in bunker gear for a water barrel competition of their own. Winner of the women’s division was the team from St. Williams.
Another test involved “the bucket brigade.” With the bucket brigade, team members pass buckets of water to one another up a ladder to fill a barrel. The bucket brigade is a test of stamina, speed and upper body strength. The winners here were firefighters from Station 6 in Courtland.
The skills competition also features a booby prize – a trophy called The Bent Nozzle – for the Norfolk team that makes the biggest mistake during the event.
This too went to the team from Courtland. During the pump competition, the Courtland contingent forgot to engage the transmission of the pumper truck. This left them holding a hose with no water to fire.
NFA organizer Ryan Mercier said this was a relatively minor lapse, one attesting to the training and overall skill of everyone who participated.