On Saturday Lee, Liam and Kev from the BBA took part in Lancashire Fire & Rescue’s Tough Enough Challenge for the fire fighters charity.
The event we held at Lancashire Fire & Rescue Training Centre near Chorley. We travelled down on the Friday night and we were lucky enough to be able to stay in the excellent facilities.
The day was a good mix of how the service used to be to how it is now. You called the instructors Sir / Ma’am etc. We were issued full protective gear, gloves and helmets and then it was time for the fun to start.
The morning was all about hose running. We took on various drills that would normally be drilled by new recruits e.g. running out hoses, running out and connecting hoses together etc. We had regular water breaks as it was hot, and to be honest we were glad of them as the challenge was that physically tough.
Before lunch we had to run what felt like miles in our gear, that was the hardest thing so far. But when we reached our destination it was lunch time.
In the afternoon it was Drills time! We will were split into groups of 8 and then into 2 teams of 4 within our 8. We where to take on a serious of timed challenges throughout the day and there would be an overall winner and also a prize for the best candidate, when judging they took into account time, team work, communication etc.
Our first challenge was the dexterity test, we were shown how to assemble and dissemble a piece of equipment and we were timed doing it.
This is when the Thunder and lightning and the heavy rain started.
Our next challenge was to run a hose full of water up a stair well of a 4 story structure. We took the shortest path first and went straight up the banister. Once we had finished we had a minute to confer with the other 4 and both our teams times would be added together to get our overall time. They nailed it! They had a fantastic time so we where off to a good start! Well done team!!!
Our 3rd challenge was the confined spaces challenge. This was by far my favourite! The task was to crawl and find our way through the maze carrying a weighted hose. When manovering the hose in the dark the maze would go up a level, down a level, left or right and occasionally you would have to crawl under a Lip or step over one. When you reached the end you switched the hose for a 55kg casualty dummy and had to bring the dummy back through the maze all this as quick as you could. This was an extremely physical task. We watch Liam lead his team into the building first and when they came out the look shattered. Liam had also lost his water bottle ha ha. We honestly thought this would be the easiest task. When it was our turn we got the hose to the other end in no time, retrieved the casualty and started manovering our way back. About half way, we got stuck at a half meter lip that we had to get the casualty over. This was extremely tough and took 3 of us to do it, which was no easy task as the chambers where only a meter squared ant there was not allot of room. The instructor shouted that we were 1 minute ahead of all other team and we had to get out now, Kev who was leading us back had moved into standing room, he know how tired we all were and stepped in, grabbed the casualty himself and pool it through the exit! Well done Kev!!! Also Natalie retrived Liams water bottle from the maze and returned it to him. Surely that was worth a bonus point?
Next we were on to the final event, the dreaded ring road challenge. We were split into 2 teams, numbered 1 to 12 and object was to run out hoses around the ring road, we were told it was 700m but im sure it was further than that. It was raining really heavy and one by one we ran out with our hoses, connected it to the next persons hose, then dismantled it and carried it to the front and started the process again until we reached the finish. This is the toughest work out I have ever done in my life. We were shattered, we had nothing left in the tank but still we pushed and kept running and carrying our hoses. Having done a marathon in November we where no stranger to running, but this was so tough! However the instructors really helped to motivate you and push when you really did have nothing left.
After the Ring Road challenge we then took of our Gear and made our way to the assembly hall for the presentation. One by one we were awarded with our certificates and fantastic TShirts for the event. We also each got our photo taken with the Chief Fire Officer.
Then they announced the results of the competition, Yellow squad were asked to stand …………………………. We where yellow squad! We had won tough enough! I still cant believe we won. However it was extremely close and we had one by only a second or two. We where awarded with Lancashire Fire & Rescue Plaques that we were all honoured to receive!
We would strongly recommend anyone interested in joining the service or looking for an adrenalin filled challenge check out the Tough Enough Challenge on the Fire Fighters Charity Web Site!