CFA members from across the Latrobe Valley put their firefighting skills to the test when they took part in the inaugural District 27 Firefighter Olympics earlier this month.
The two Groups within the District battled it out at Maryvale Recreation Reserve in Morwell on Sunday, 18 June, breaking into two mixed teams of Merton and Hyland Group members.
Volunteers participated in a series of challenges utilising their operational skills and knowledge, much like what they use during emergencies and deployment.
Tyers Fire Brigade member Andrew Mapleback, who has been with the brigade for just over a year, said a highlight was the expedition challenge as it provided the most real-life scenario.
“It was quite realistic because we got sent a page, jumped in the truck, and navigated where we had to go. We worked on our radio comms and map navigation skills and got to go for a walk through the bush,” Andrew said.
“In other challenges we focused on first aid, agility and strength, hose bowling and hose target shooting. Everything we did was based off the skills we use on the fireground.”
For Newborough Fire Brigade Captain Adam Watt, the day was all about getting out of the station and doing something different, and although the competition was fierce, the camaraderie between members was evident and many laughs were shared.
“As we were in mixed teams, you’re not used to working with everyone, so you had to uncover what their strengths and weaknesses were.” Adam said.
“Although it’s a bit of healthy competition, these events are a great opportunity to network with other brigade members you wouldn’t usually work with on the fireground.” Andrew said.
Given Adam’s team was loaded with a Group Officer, Lieutenant, and Captain, they opted to hand over the reins to a new operational member for the ultimate learning experience.
“We had a woman there who had never done those activities before, so we elected her to be crew leader for the day,” Adam said.
“We’re usually the ones who run the jobs, so it was nice to get our hands dirty and offer that role of responsibility to someone else.”
Merton Group of Brigades involved: Boolarra, Churchill, Driffield, Hazelwood North, Moe, Moe South, Morwell, Newborough, Tanjil, Yallourn North, Yinnar and Yinnar South.
Hyland Group of Brigades involved: Callignee, Flynn, Glengarry, Maryvale, Toongabbie, Traralgon, Traralgon East, Traralgon South, Traralgon West and Tyers.