CAFC Fire Challenge

More than 7 years in the making, with anchor sponsors Rosenbauer and Indocom Ltd and supporting sponsors Scott Health & Safety, Knox-Box and IRP, the CAFC kicked off the first annual Firefighter Challenge in Montego Bay, Jamaica November 2009 where Caribbean nations sent their very best firefighters to compete in a five station course designed to emulate the stresses and physical demands of the everyday task of saving lives.

  • Station #1 - Don full bunker gear including SCBA and face-mask.
  • Station #2 - Climb 3 flights of stairs with 80 lb. fire hose
  • Station #3 - Forced entry simulation with sledge hammer
  • Station #4 - Accurately aim a water hose - 40 foot distance
  • Station #5 - Drag a 145 lb. dummy 75 ft.

 

The event was held in Trelawny Stadium (a national soccer stadium of Jamaica) and was run safety, station scoring and judging officials. A full staffed EMS crew (an ambulance) provided resuscitation and standby medical support for the event.

This electrifying event captured the heart and soul of the Caribbean firefighter like never before with creative support from onlookers in the stands creating songs of encouragement for each competitor to competitors providing words of wisdom and encouragement to their fellow competitors to the dueling MCs, amping up the almost visible adrenaline in the air.

In the end, the “Best of the Best” emerged victorious – with the common acknowledgement that we had experienced each one on the field of competition as a true hero.

The Challenge (An Eventful Day)

As the busses arrived at the stadium and moved along the drive we could see that spectators had already begun to gather to see the first Caribbean Firefighters Challenge. The day was clear and warm and a dedicated Jamaican Fire Brigade team put the final touches on a demanding Challenge course as CAFC members began to take to the Trelawly bleachers.

The stadium proved to be an excellent facility for the Challenge, and there were more than 150 of us on hand to cheer on these exceptional performers. The senior sponsors for this event were Rosenbauer and Indocom, the primary equipment sponsor was Scott Health and Safety, and supporting sponsors for bound hoses and for timing equipment came from Knox Box and IRP inc. of Trinidad.

The clock on this five station course began when the firemen began suiting up at prep station in their personal kit. Though there were some minor differences in gear, all were comparable and demanded proper setup and full engagement of equipment, including the Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), provided by Scott Health and Safety, before the participants were allowed to move on to the second station, the stair climb with hose…simulating positioning of a hose in a multilevel building.

Station three proved the most demanding physically as our competitors used a sledge to move a truck tire across a set distance on a macadam surface. While not an exact replica of work done in the field, this station places a high demand on strength, maneuverability, and stamina similar to the effort required to breach a locked or structurally damaged building.

With the clock running and the SCBAs under demand, our firemen moved on to the fourth station where they charged their fire hose and used it to accurately thread suspended targets in order to hit the simulated fire source … a traditional fire-bell.

Moving swiftly to the final station our participants took hold of a standard 145 pound field dummy and dragged their charge 75 feet to safety to cross the finish line.

Exhausted and spent, these Firefighters gave their all to compete as brothers under fire in an exciting first CAFC Firefighters Challenge. On their completion EMT support took charge of each of our competitors to ensure that they were doing fine… one more demonstration of the Caribbean spirit shared among the CAFC participating nations.