Firefighters grind it out in a day of fun and challenges

2014-05-12 00:00

THE eThekwini Municipality’s fire and emergency services unit hosted the Grinder Challenge, a competition for fire services personnel, on North Beach on Saturday.

fire and emergency services unit head Mike te Water said yesterday the city has a higher fire risk than others in South Africa, considering the two fuel refineries, fuel pipelines, airport, CBD and the port — the city has 480 firefighters spread across 20 stations in the city.

The aim of the competition was to test the strength of the individuals and boost morale and team spirit.

Te Water said the city’s people become increasingly vulnerable to fire accidents as urbanisation grows.

Fire and emergency services are a “Cinderella sector” when it came to resource allocation, but he said this is also understandable considering the resource requirements in other areas, such as to address the high rate of crime.

“We sometimes think we are under-resourced, but think of the many rural areas where there are no emergency services,” he said.

The competition, started in 2012, is also used as a platform for the team that represents the municipality at the National Toughest Fire-fighter Alive Challenge, hosted annually in Cape Town.

Challenges spectators were treated to included “Hose Drag” where participants were expected to pick up branches to extend the lines of hose up to 80-90 metres, and “Tower”, where firefighters race up a tower while carrying a 25 kg foam drum.

Other activities were the simulated victim drag and running up a 23-storey stair. Trophies, medals, holiday vouchers, safety sunglasses and different hampers were among the prizes.

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