Facing the flames, Firefighter Combat Challenge

Published: Jun. 12, 2021 at 4:37 PM MDT|Updated: Jun. 12, 2021 at 4:38 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Some firefighters from all over the US competed with Rapid City firefighters in a race.

The race is called the firefighter combat challenge, and puts physical feats in the job description to the test.

The Rapid City Regional Firefighter Combat Challenge Organizer, Bill Cina, says it seeks to makes sure those on the front lines battling the flames are in tip top shape.

“This course started 30 years ago with Dr. Paul Davis back in Maryland. They were coming up with a way to test firefighter fitness. An agility test to set as a standard for what firefighters should be at,” says Cina.

Firefighting requires vigorous, intense, physical effort on a near daily basis, and the challenges during the race simulate the real deal.

Not before long, the race got competitive.

Cina explains how a competition was bound to happen, “just by the very nature of firefighters. If you do something in four minutes. We are a competitive natured people, I’m going to try and do it in a faster time than you. Competition is born right there.”

Jared Johnson is a 10-year firefighter out of Austin, Texas, and a top competitor. Whether battling fires or gearing up to compete, he says the nerves are real.

“I use those nerves as a advantage, it gets me into a mode where I can focus, have the energy. I use the adrenaline to propel me forward with the right mindset. It simulates exactly what we feel on a fire ground. It’s the same nerves, anxiousness and adrenaline that you fear that replicates just like this on the firefighter combat challenge,” says Johnson.

The challenge is a way to keep firefighters able and prepared when in the field. As a man, Jared carries himself in a similar manner, by coaching recruits and preparing them for the hurdles in fire academy.

For Jared, firefighting is a family business. He says, “I have two older brothers. Both of them are in the fire service. My Dad is a retired fire chief. So, it’s been in the family, man. So, this is what I love to do,” but the fire family isn’t bound by blood, says Johnson. “It’s the comradery. The brotherhood and sisterhood. It’s that family environment. You get to show up and provide an amazing service to the community.”

Cina says the event is no joke, “ESPN, a few years back, dubbed this the toughest two minutes in sports. The condition of these firefighters and athletes when we finish the course, it’s a testament to what we go through on the fire ground.”

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