Firefighters encounter dangerous situations every time they battle a house fire or rescue someone from a burning building. So, it helps to be in top physical condition and the Brookshire's Firefighter Combat Challenge tests that and more.
Firefighters train year-round, sometimes five days a week, all for two short minutes.
“It helps make us stronger by making us in better physical condition and helps make our air bags last longer,” Tyler firefighter Terry Hawkins said.
Hawkins represents the over-40 team with the Tyler Fire Department. He's been taking on the firefighter challenge for 19 years. “If you come off the course and you are not completely drained, you didn't push hard enough,” Hawkins said.
In that two minutes, individual firefighters and the relay teams tackle five grueling tasks that mimic a live fire scene.
That includes a high-rise hose drag, hoisting a 50-pound roll of hose and driving a 165-pound sled 5 feet to simulate cutting a hole in a roof.
They also pull a charged hose line and drag a weighted rescue dummy 100 feet to safety.
“I just want to go as fast as I can go and give our team a chance to post a good time,” Tyler firefighter Stuart Weatherford said.
To make the competition even more difficult, they lugged around about 30 pounds in gear and they'll also attach another 30 pounds on their back for their air pack.
Although Hawkins and Weatherford are in the over-40 group, they still like being competitive with the younger guys.
“If everybody stays in good shape and is healthy, we don't have to worry about our fellow firefighters. We can focus our energy and attention on putting out the fire and rescuing any victims that could be in a house.”
In the end that benefits the entire fire department and those they protect.
Watch Dana Hughey's “Fit City Success” stories each Thursday during KYTX CBS19's 10 p.m. news.