Firefighting skills put to the test

Ashburton volunteer firefighter Nick Rattray in action during the United Fire Brigades’ Association South Island Waterway Challenge.

Ashburton volunteer firefighter Nick Rattray, pictured, was among the crew from Ashburton competing at the United Fire Brigades’ Association South Island Waterway Challenge.

The event, held at Tullock Park, in Mataura, Southland, last weekend saw 38 firefighters from throughout the South Island pitting their firefighting skills against each other in two-person and fourperson team events. Other competitors were from Wyndham, Balclutha, Mossburn, Mataura, Cromwell, Greymouth, Brunner and Kaitangata volunteer fire brigades.

The two-person team competition was won by Wyndham A and the four person team contest was won by Kaitangata. Nick’s team placed sixth.

UFBA official Jason Prendergast said the challenge tested how fast and efficiently firefighters could attach hoses to a water hydrant or connect to a water source and get the water to a fire.

The waterways challenge was one of four events the association ran.

“All these events are designed to make our firefighters better firefighters [so], when the community calls, we are there to serve the community as best we can.’’

Each year 20,000 fires threatened homes, businesses, the natural environment and lives across New Zealand.

Firefighting relied on timing, technical expertise, and teamwork to save lives and property; the branch on the hose, hose to the pump, the standpipe to the hydrant, and each person playing their part.

The waterway challenge has been running since 1885 and helping firefighters put hose-running and pump operating skills to the test in a fun, safe, and competitive environment.