Chestermere Fire Service’s FireFit teams set new personal and department records at FireFit Nationals at Spruce Meadows Sept. 5-9.
“We wound up with a personal best for the department,” said Chestermere Fire Service (CFS) Senior Firefighter Rob Barchard.
Barchard and the rest of his team, know as the TJ Show, and made up of CFS B shift members, set the new department record, completing the FireFit course in 1:17:74.
“That’s pretty cool,” said Barchard.
In addition to the department record, Firefighter TJ Pettersson beat his personal best time by 4 seconds running the course in 1:56.
While building camaraderie in the department and providing a fun if exhausting competition to participate in, Barchard said that competing in FireFit is helping make him and the other CFS members better at their jobs.
Recently, the department has been running a series of victim rescue training scenarios.
In one scenario firefighter have to rescue a person from a second story window. They have been conducting the training rescuing manakin victims weighing up to 250 pounds.
“Drag them to the window, dead-lift them out the window and actually carry them down a ladder,” said Barchard.
He said that before they started training for FireFit, he could complete the training but be winded at the end of it.
“And now, after all the fire fit training…we can run these drills like four or five times over and not be even tapped,” he said.
“Which is really neat,” said Barchard, “It goes to show that training for the fire fit side of things is benefitting us in our actual job.”
While FireFit this year has led to a lot of great successes both on the job and on the competition field, there have been challenges as well.
In his individual run, Barchard was on pace for a fast time when he lost his balance and fell during the victim rescue stage of the course.
He still managed to finish in 2 minutes despite the fall.
“It’s disappointing to fall, but at the same time, running a 2 minute time is good,” he said.
“I don’t really take it as a failure, I take it as something to learn from,” said Barchard.
“Of course I was a little bummed out about it, but now I know my limits,” he said.
Barchard plans to continue training and work out the weakness in his runs to come back better next year.
He said that the CFS FireFit teams are hoping to compete at more events next year.
“We want to broaden the horizon as far as competition goes,” he said.
Instead of just competing at Spruce Meadows, Barchard said that they hope to be able to travel to some of the other FireFit events.
“There’s hopefully one gonna be running in Edson next year and there’s also gonna be one running in Kamloops,” he said.
Barchard said that they’ll have to see if they can find sponsors or fundraise to get to some of these events.
“We would like to at least go to Edson,” he said.
“If we can go to Edson it’d be awesome,” said Barchard, “we’d also love to be able to go to Kamloops.”
Finding community support likely won’t be too hard if the crowd at this year’s FireFit is anything to go by.
Barchard said that the crowd erupted into cheers when the CFS team was introduced before their run.
“We walked out onto the course, Chestermere was said, and the place just erupted, which I thought was really, really cool,” he said.
Barchard said that they are really grateful for all of the community support they receive.
To watch a video of CFS members competing at FireFit go to www.theanchor.ca.