Firefighters test pump skills

Alexandra Volunteer Fire Brigade members (back row, from left) Lee Kinnaird, Marty Rendall, Jon Morrow, Nathan Mawhinney and Pete Scarlett and (front row, from left) Audrey Nisbet and Nicola Donald. Photos by Pam Jones.
Alexandra Volunteer Fire Brigade members (back row, from left) Lee Kinnaird, Marty Rendall, Jon Morrow, Nathan Mawhinney and Pete Scarlett and (front row, from left) Audrey Nisbet and Nicola Donald. Photos by Pam Jones.
Glenorchy Volunteer Fire Brigade member Sam Dereeper takes part in the competition.
Glenorchy Volunteer Fire Brigade member Sam Dereeper takes part in the competition.

Otago-Southland rural firefighters sharpened their skills at regional pump competitions in Alexandra this weekend but some of the host-town firefighters turned heads for some sharp attire.

Seven members of the Alexandra Volunteer Fire Brigade swapped their usual firefighting uniforms for ''bridal party'' and ''stag-do'' dress-ups, enjoying ''the lighter side'' of the Saturday event, as well as its serious purpose, they said.

More than 100 firefighters took part in the Otago-Southland Rural Fire Wajax Competitions, and the skills shown and friendly rivalry exhibited were ''nice to see'', one of the organisers, retired Tapanui and Clyde fire depot manager Mike Furby, of Tapanui, said.

The firefighters were mostly from rural units but also some town brigades, as there was a crossover in many small communities between rural and town firefighters, who helped each other out and shared many of the same skills, Mr Furby said.

The event - in which teams of four completed timed runs to assemble portable Wajax pumps and knock down standing targets with fire hoses - was a good way to practise and display the members' firefighting skills, he said.

Event timekeeper Calvin Thomson, of Otautau, said the Te Anau men's team ''cleaned up'' at the event, taking home seven trophies and the overall title.

The women's category was won by the Glenorchy Volunteer Fire Brigade.

pam.jones@odt.co.nz

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