Firefighters hone skills at contest

Firefighters from throughout the South Island pitted their firefighting skills against each other at Mataura on Saturday.

The United Fire Brigades’Association of New Zealand’s (UFBA) South Island Waterway Challenge attracted 38 competitors from as far away as Greymouth.

Wyndham A won the two-person team competition and Kaitangata the four-person contest.

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.’’

Mataura Volunteer Fire Brigade member Luke Whitbrock (left) is in support as Nick Callick aims a...
Mataura Volunteer Fire Brigade member Luke Whitbrock (left) is in support as Nick Callick aims a jet of water at the target during the four-person team competition at the United Fire Brigades’ Association’s South Island Waterway Challenge at Mataura on Saturday. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON
Mossburn Volunteer Fire Brigade Senior Firefighters Jeff Manson (56) and Stephen Trusler (48) won the two-person event last year and finished second in the national competition.

Mr Manson said he had been competing in the event for about 30 years.

It was “the challenge to win, to compete and to be with our fellow firefighters” that kept him coming back year after year.

“Everyone’s striving to be better than they were last week. What we do and learn here, we take it to the fire ground. ”

He had also made many friends as he travelled the country taking part in the competition, he said.

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