On Saturday 30 July a one day event, The British Firefighter Challenge 2016, took place at Jubilee Campus, Nottingham University, raising money for The Fire Fighters Charity. Operational firefighters from all over the world were invited to take part, with over 70 personnel accepting the challenge from countries including Germany, Austria, Croatia and even Kuwait. Representing the English fire and rescue services were Suffolk, London, Merseyside, Humberside, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and ten firefighters from Leicestershire.
Firefighters competed in a series of operational tasks which included; stair running, hauling aloft, forcible entry techniques, hose running, equipment carrying and a casualty rescue. Finishing times ranged from the winning time of 2 minutes and 44 seconds by German competitor Joachim Posanz, to just over 7 minutes.
John Gregory from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service was the fastest out of all the British male firefighters, finishing in third place overall, with a time of 2 minutes and 52 seconds, a second behind German competitor Jens Ludeke! Rebecca Simms from neighbouring Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service was fastest out of all the British female firefighters in a time of 4 minutes 52 seconds.
The highly demanding individual event was then followed by the relay event. This involved teams of four firefighters going against one another to complete the same course. Thirteen relay teams took part in this, including two from Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, with both finishing just out of the medal positions. The German team TFA X-Cross won gold in a time of 2 minutes and 13 seconds. Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service were the fastest out of all the British fire and rescue services, winning silver with a time of 2 minutes and 13 seconds with London finishing in Bronze with a time of 2 minutes and 31 seconds.
The event was a great success with a number of fire service equipment sponsors supporting the event amongst many other organisations. A1 Trophies also supported the event by sponsoring all the trophies and relay medals. A massive thank you must go out to them all as this event could not have taken place without them.
The British Firefighter Challenge team is hopeful of bringing the competition to the streets of Leicester in July 2017, aiming to promote physical fitness within our fire and rescue services. The competition also hopes to help raise awareness amongst the members of the public on how physically demanding structural firefighting can be in the line of duty, to save lives and protect property. If you are interested in hearing about future events, please find The British Firefighter Challenge page on Facebook, or search @TeamGB_Fire on twitter. Any messages of support are greatly appreciated.