August 16, 2009

Event gives firefighters chance to shine

A Firefest spokesman says the annual competition in the Canadian city of Windsor gives firefighters a chance to show off their unique skill sets.

Firefest spokesman David Bellamy said festival participants are required to don their heavy firefighting gear and attempt to set record paces while carrying a fire hose up a five-story building, The Windsor (Ontario) Star said Sunday.

Participants are also required to pull a separate hose to the roof of the building, before moving a heavy steel beam with a sledgehammer, hitting a target with water from a fire house and carrying a mannequin across the finish line.

Bellamy said the grueling event not only gives firefighters an opportunity to show off their skills, but also allows members of the public to witness firsthand the tiring actions such workers deal with on the job.

Their job is not easy to do. They're running in when we're running out of a bad situation, he told the Star. It takes a specific set of physical and mental talents.

The winner of Saturday's 2009 Firefest competition was Brandon Cunningham of Augusta, Ga., who completed the exhausting firefighter routine in a world course record of 1.17.31 minutes.