Firefighter event at Methven

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The Methven fire crew during a training session.
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Methven Domain will be making a splash this weekend with the annual United Fire Brigades Association of New Zealand Incorporated (UFBA) ‘National Waterways Challenge’ hitting the town.

This will be the first time in 25 years Methven will be entering a team in the four man category and not only that, they will be the oldest team there, with an average age of 52.

The event begins tomorrow morning with four to five group runs with 23 teams from all over the North and South Islands of New Zealand taking part.

The event has been a tradition every year since its introduction back in 1885 and with new simplified rules introduced in 2020, the event is now open to rural as well as urban firefighters.

This particular event was supposed to be held back in the summer but due to the flooding in the North Island, the competition was postponed until now.

The Methven crew got a taste of what to expect, when they featured in the South Island Waterway Challenge back in February, in Cromwell.

As Methven was nominated to host the national event, they felt obliged to put a team together for their locals to support. Methven’s finest, Kevin Clemens, Mark Brown, Kerry Smith, Shane Stockdill, Robbie Ferguson and coaches Dave Mcleod and Brent Anderson will all be attending.

The challenge simulates a typical house fire scenario requiring firefighters to spring into action at a moment’s notice. The aim for each team of competitors is to connect the hose to the pump. Connect the standpipe to the hydrant and extend all the connecting hoses to a length of 25 metres, before spraying the water at an elevated target. The time taken do this will roughly be 50 seconds and teams will be judged on their speed, precision and team work.

Every aspect will judged on from checking the bonding is correct to the hydrant, to hitting the target first time like a marksman. Even the use of bad language can be penalised as the firefighters will be expected to act professional at all times.

There will be many different scenarios over the course of the weekend, such as a mock up of a faulty middle hose, which will have to be replaced during the challenge. This, accompanied by a two man team category, will keep spectators entertained throughout. The challenge will conclude on Saturday around 5pm, with the winners of each category crowned respectively.