Mumbai: As many as 30 fire fighters from the Mumbai Fire Brigade and Directorate of Maharashtra Fire Services are undergoing training for the Combat 360 Fire fighter Challenge, a competition which will test their physical abilities across different aspects of fire fighting.
Michael Joseph, a firefighter in U.K. for 16 years, is conducting daily training sessions with 30 fire fighters of the Mumbai Fire Brigade and Maharashtra Fire Service since Tuesday. Mr. Joseph currently with the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, has participated in the competition six times.
The competition involves fire fighters in full gear complete a circuit with five elements – Stair climb with High Rise Pack, Hose Hoist, Forcible Entry, Hose Advance and Victim Rescue. There are three categories — individual, tandem (two people) and team (five people). “The premise of the competition is training. The whole circuit tests your speed, stamina and strength during fire fighting,” Mr. Joseph said.
Sixteen teams from 11 countries will participate in the competition, being held in India for the first time at the National Sports Club of India (NSCI) from March 8 to 10. A five-member team from the Mumbai Fire Brigade and a team from the Directorate of Maharashtra Fire Service will be participating. “We are also trying to see if we can have a national team. Since it is the first time and it is an event that requires a lot of training, we are restricting it to just three teams. We are also aiming to send a team to South Korea later this year for an international competition,” Chief Fire Officer Prabhat Rahangdale said.
Firefighters of the Mumbai Fire Brigade, who have performed well in the internal drills and competitions over the years, were selected in the initial pool. Mr. Joseph conducted trials when he arrived on Monday and selected 20, including five women. The final team will be selected from the core group. “In terms of physical fitness all of those selected tick the right boxes. The training session was to improve their technique, all have tremendous potential,” Mr. Joseph said.
Yutkarsh Bobade, station officer at Nariman Point, said the training has helped them increase endurance, which is crucial during fighting major fires. “Quite often we need to continuously fight fire for three to four hours. This training will help us fight fires for longer duration and will reduce the need for replacements during fire fighting,” he said.
The competition will be part of a larger two-day programme called Combat 360. According to Mr. Rahangdale, the event will have all stakeholders who are directly or indirectly involved with safety and security. “The prime objective is bringing our firemen and officers up to international standards with respect to training and endurance. For this purpose we have 16 countries participating in the event. We plan to incorporate this circuit into our regular training program for the same reason,” said the Chief Fire Officer.