Hannover. Firefighters are physically fit. They have to be, to do the work they do. But the conditioning, skill and speed INTERSCHUTZ attendees can witness at the international FireFit Championships are in a league of their own. And now, for the very first time, the championships are coming to INTERSCHUTZ with an action-packaged program spanning all five show days, from 15 to 20 June 2019.
"The FireFit Championships complement INTERSCHUTZ perfectly," commented Martin Folkerts, Global Director INTERSCHUTZ at Deutsche Messe. "They are a mix of high-performance sport, entertainment and heart-pumping adrenalin, so we are looking forward to some truly thrilling head-to-head clashes and amazing displays of athletic prowess."
The championships are open to anyone who feels they are fit enough to compete. The only requirement is that contestants must be professional firefighters, volunteer firefighters or members of a plant/factory fire service. They can participate in individual competitions, two-person technical relays, or relays in teams of between three and five persons. The team relay is a fast, fun way for FireFit rookies to give the sport a try. The individual competition is the toughest of them all. The entire course must be completed wearing full breathing gear, so it really pushes its contestants to the absolute limits of their strength and endurance. Hence, to be eligible for the individual competition, contPestants must have a current certificate of fitness for wearing breathing apparatus (for German participants, that's G 26.3). It is a grueling challenge, but the best-trained and prepared professionals can reach the finish line in under 90 seconds.
The competition course will be set up on the open-air site adjacent to the eastern entrance of the Hannover Exhibition Center and will comprise five events. The first stage of the individual competition is the stair climb, in which each contestant is required to ascend a12-meter-high three-flight HAIX stair tower while carrying a high-rise hose pack weighing about 20 kilograms. Once at the top, it's time for the hose hoist stage, in which each contestant is required to hoist an additional hose pack up from the ground on a rope. Once the hose pack is up and correctly in place, the contestant races back to the bottom, taking care to touch each step on the way down. Next up is the "forced entry" stage, were the contestant swings a special mallet to slide a horizontal hydraulic steel beam over a prescribed distance. From there, the contestant runs a 42-meter slalom course, picks up the nozzle end of a charged hose line, drags the line a distance of 23 meters, opens the nozzle and, energy and concentration permitting, hits a target with the water jet, before shutting down the nozzle and placing it on the ground. Then it's onwards to the final stage, the victim rescue, where the competitor must lift an 80 kg dummy and drag it backwards for a distance of 30 meters to the finish line. The clock stops as soon as the dummy's feet cross the line. The contestant's final time is the time on the clock plus any time penalties incurred for breaches of competition rules along the way.
The FireFit Championships were originally developed in Canada and are modeled on the core tasks performed by firefighters in their daily work. The very first FireFit Championships were held in Vancouver in 1994. The FireFit Championships for the upcoming INTERSCHUTZ are being co-organized by the Hannover, Rodgau and Mosel region teams.