A TEAM of four local firefighters from the Gibraltar Fire and Rescue Service travelled to Montgomery, Alabama to represent Gibraltar on the 25th Anniversary of the World Firefighter Combat Challenge.
The competition consists of five individual disciplines linked in one race replicating real-life demands of a firefighter at a fire incident. The head-to-head race consists of the following disciplines:
1) Ascending a five-storey tower with 20 kilo hose pack and then hoisting an additional hose pack using a rescue line
2) A forcible entry simulation using a Keiser machine and sledge hammer
3) Slalom run
4) Charged 90mm hose drag with firefighting simulation
5) Rescuing a life-sized 80 kilo ‘casualty’ while wearing full firefighter kit, including breathing apparatus, as they race against their opponents and the clock.
The aim of the team of local firefighters, Matt Coulthard, Julian McGrail, Dylan Pratts and Dyron Ford was to gain valuable experience and make it past the qualifiers. What followed exceeded all of their expectations as the team battled their way to the world finals, finishing in a fantastic second place and bringing home the silver medal.
The team’s spokesman said afterwards, “We are thrilled at what we have achieved; we went with the intentions of trying to qualify for the final knock out stages, but to make it to this stage and then all the way to the final is beyond our wildest dreams. To finish second in the world, coming from such a small nation with a limited number of firefighters and only having competed in this sport for a couple of years is such an amazing feeling.”
The Gibraltar firefighters not only achieved a remarkable Silver at the world championships, but are very proud that three of the team members, Julian McGrail, Matt Coulthard and Dylan Pratts, were inducted into the ‘Lion’s Den’: an elite club of the world’s fastest finishers.
This tremendous achievement not only makes them the first Gibraltarians but also the first ever British firefighters to have this honour bestowed upon them in the 25 years since the inception of this competition.