Cache Creek and Ashcroft firefighters took part in a recent 3M Scott Fire and Safety competition in Kamloops, and did themselves and their communities proud in the mixed relay event.
The Cache Creek Volunteer Fire Department (CCVFD) fielded a five-person team and finished second in the event, while the Ashcroft Volunteer Fire Department (AVFD) had a three-person team and finished third.
“The Fire Fit competition is put on by Scott, which goes across the country putting on the competitions,” says CCVFD chief Tom Moe. “They’re a pretty big deal, and they’re for any teams that want to compete. There are teams that train all year for these competitions.”
Moe adds that the competition makes no distinction between paid and volunteer firefighters. “There’s no difference. There’s no distinction in any of the categories between career and volunteer firefighters.”
Moe says that the Fire Fight event was held in conjunction with Kamloops’ Brewloops weekend, and took place during the weekend of May 25–26. “It’s the first time that it’s been in Kamloops, to my knowledge.”
The decision for the CCVFD and AVFD to field teams in the Kamloops event stemmed form a local first responders get-together in December 2018, says Moe. “Someone threw out a challenge to do the Fire Fit competition.” Each team in the mixed relay event needed at least one female member, with Alanna Peters on the Cache Creek team and Nancy Duchaine and Tyra Collins on the Ashcroft squad.
“It was our first time participating in the event,” says Moe. In the mixed relay event, a member tackles one obstacle, then hands off to the next person. The event starts with a six-storey stair climb, in which the participant carries a 42-pound high-rise pack. When she or he gets to the top another member is waiting, who pulls a 45-pound hose roll up the six storeys on a rope.
The member then runs down the six storeys and hits a weight with a hammer for a marked distance. The next member runs through 100 feet of cones; then there is a 100-foot charged-line hose pull, with the member having to hit a target with the water. The last stage is the drag of a 165-pound dummy (“Rescue Randy”) for 100 feet.
“Participants do all this while in full turnout gear wearing an SCBA [self contained breathing apparatus] bottle,” explains Moe. Those taking part in the mixed relay event are not “on air”—that is, relying on their breathing apparatus during the event—but those taking part in individual competitions are.
During the May event, a team from Kamloops Fire Rescue set a new world record in the two-man relay with a time of 1.08 minutes. “They did all the stuff the mixed relay team does,” says Moe. “That’s pretty incredible.”
Moe says that there were three teams competing in the mixed relay event, with a team from CN placing first. “They’d obviously done it a few times before; they were a minute faster than us. Ashcroft was in third, but if they’d had five team members it would have been way closer.”
Moe says that Kamloops is in the running to have the nationals next year, and that the teams in Cache Creek and Ashcroft are already talking about putting in another team and possibly doing some of the individual categories.
“We’d like to do some fundraising to get some training, as well as some equipment like Rescue Randy. There’s a possibility that we could combine forces.”
Moe says that he was really impressed with the effort that AVFD put in with only three members.
“Two of their members were women, but they kept up with the men. And [AVFD team member] Griffin Aie did stairs with me and kicked my butt. I thought ‘Stairs can’t be that hard, I have good cardio from running,’ but by the fourth flight I was done.”
Moe adds that it was a good bonding experience for the Cache Creek and Ashcroft fire departments. “Everyone was out there cheering for you and it was really good. I hope [Ashcroft] puts in another team.”