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Fit, fired up volunteers complete big challenge

Two volunteer firefighters from Carterton fire station, Kyle Elwin and Jane Phillips Bell, recently battled it out at the United Fire Brigade Association [UFBA] National Firefighting Challenge in Wellington.

The “taxing” event involved the pair competing as a tandem team to complete a series of challenges against other crews representing stations from around the country.

Phillips Bell did the first part of the competition, which involved carrying a 19kg hose pack up a six-story tower, hauling a 19kg hose up the tower, and then hitting a Keiser – a 69kg block that’s hit backwards to simulate a forced entry to a building.

Elwin took the reins for the second half, which comprised of a slalom course, then running a 50kg charged hose through a barn door to hit a target, and finally dragging an 81kg dummy a distance of 30 metres.

They were both pleased to have completed the challenge and said to describe the experience as nerve-wracking was an understatement.

“We were the first people to compete in the competition – the icebreakers,” Phillips Bell said.

“I was ridiculously nervous, even going over the hill on Thursday night.

“We managed to complete it, which was awesome.”

Elwin said that they beat their record at a previous event in Palmerston North by 20 seconds, clocking a total time of 5 minutes and 22 seconds.

“We had friends, family, and fellow firefighters there to support us, which was cool,” Elwin said.

“I’m glad it’s done, and now we are training towards a similar competition, which will be in Gisborne in November.”

A spokesperson from UFBA said that the competitors who participated in the Wellington challenge “are the fittest of the fit in firefighting”.

Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie is a journalist at the Wairarapa Times-Age; originally moving from Christchurch, he is interested in housing stories as well as covering emergencies and crime.

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