Let the challenge begin . . . Cromwell Volunteer Fire Brigade personnel will be among the 170 competitors in the UFBA South Island Firefighter Combat Challenge, taking place in Cromwell on Saturday. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/DAVE BOLCH


Fitness levels will be put to the test when firefighters from around the South Island converge in Cromwell this weekend.

The town will host the United Firebrigades’ Association (UFBA) South Island Firefighter Combat Challenge at Cromwell’s tennis courts on Saturday.

About 150 fire brigade personnel will compete in the event, including 12 from Cromwell.

Senior firefighter brigade support Dave Bolch, of the Cromwell Volunteer Fire Brigade, said the event was a chance to watch some of the island’s top athletes as they test the limits of their endurance, physical strength and firefighting skills, in what was known as the “toughest two minutes in sport”.

“Except, these athletes are the everyday guys and gals who give their time to protecting our communities across the country as career and volunteer firefighters and emergency first responders.”

He said the event, which is run by the UFBA and supported by volunteers, is one of the most physically demanding competitions – “like a firefighter’s Iron man”.

“Wearing full bunker gear and breathing apparatus set, competitors race against each other and the clock in a series of tasks designed to simulate the physical demands of real-life firefighting.”

Mr Boch encourages the community to attend the event, which will take place from 8.30am to about 4.30pm.

Challenging tasks

  • Climb a six-storey tower while carrying a 19kg hose
  • Hoist a 70mm hose coil six storeys
  • Chopping using a 4kg shot hammer to drive a beam 1.5m
  • Extending a charged (full of water) 45mm hose to knock down a disc
  • Drag a life-sized 85kg dummy 30.5m

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