TYLER (KYTX) - Firefighters encounter dangerous situations every time they battle a house fire or rescue someone from a burning building. So, it helps to be in top physical condition and the Brookshire's Firefighter Combat Challenge tests that and more. In this week's Fit City Success story, what goes into training for this grueling competition.
It's called the "toughest 2 minutes in sports." Firefighters say there's a reason for that. They have physically demanding jobs and the firefighter challenge simulates just some of their daily obstacles. Firefighters train year round, sometimes 5 days a week, all for 2 short minutes.
"It helps make us stronger by making us in better physical condition and helps make our air bags last longer," says Tyler Firefighter Terry Hawkins.
Terry Hawkins represents the over 40 team with the Tyler Fire Department. He's been taking on the firefighter challenge for 19 years. "If you come off the course and you are not completely drained, you didn't push hard enough," says Hawkins
In that two minutes, individual firefighters and the relay teams tackle 5 grueling tasks that mimic a live fire scene. That includes, a high rise hose drag, hoisting a 50- pound roll of hose and driving a 165- pound sled 5- feet to simulate cutting a hole in a roof. They also pull a charged hose line and drag a weighted rescue dummy 100 feet to safety. "I just want to go as fast as I can go and give our team a chance to post a good time," says Stuart Weatherford, Tyler Fire Department.
To make the competition even more difficult, they'll be lugging around about 30 pounds in gear and they'll also attach another 30 pounds on their back for their air pack. "I think viewing it as opposed to doing it, I don't think you will think much about it. That's why I like the corporate part of it, these people get to come out from their jobs and they see it is intense," says Weatherford.
Even though Terry and Stuart Weatherford are in the over 40 group, they still like being competitive with the younger guys. "If everybody stays in good shape and is healthy, we don't have to worry about our fellow firefighters. We can focus our energy and attention on putting out the fire and rescuing any victims that could be in a house. Which in the end, benefits the entire fire department and those they protect.
Local corporate teams are taking on the challenge this year to bring more awareness to what our firefighters do. Tyler City Manager Mark McDaniel and the Tyler Paper's Nelson Clyde will both have teams.
The Brookshire's Firefighter Combat Challenge starts Friday at 4:30 and continues through Saturday afternoon outside Broadway Square Mall near Sears.