User:Mricker2/Firefighter Combat Challenge Draft

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Firefighters Combat Challenge

Current season, competition or edition:
Top 5 male times: Brandon Cunningham 1:23.18; Jeff Leonard 1:28.81; William Gates 1:29.12; Joe Triff 1:29.59;

Dwayne Drover 1:30.55
Countries Worldwide
Founded 1991, by Chief David Gratz
Number of teams Fire Districts

The Firefighter's Combat Challenge is a 5 event physical challenge which firefighters throughout the world participate in and try to complete with the fastest time. Competition events include a stair climb with a high-rise pack, hose hoist, forcible entry, hose advance, and a victim rescue . The main reason for the Firefighters Combat Challenge is to promote awareness of the physical challenges which firefighters need during a fire[1]. This grueling activity is difficult on both the mind and body of all the firefighters who participate.

Another main subject of the Firefighter's Combat Challenge is to promote the physical conditioning of firefighters themselves. This challenge certainly can not be done by an average person whom does not participate in physical training everyday. The events that firefighters take part in during the Firefighter Combat Challenge are based on normal duties firefighters have to complete when fighting a fire. The challenge gives firefighters a goal to reach and a way for them to 'show off' their physical ability to the thousands of spectators that watch, both on the sports network ESPN in the United States or TSN in Canada, and in the live audience.

The Firefighters Combat Challenge does not only consist of just the competitors completing the course, but is a family activity . The Firefighter Combat Challenge, which is free to the public, offers the public an insight to the equipment used by their firefighters. Often fire trucks and fire engines are on display for the public to view. There is usually a kids combat course in which firefighters show children how some of the equipment works. There are also booths in which donations will be accepted for the wide variety of charities in which the Firefighter Combat Challenge benefits.


The Firefighter Challenge was created by Chief David Gratz of Montgomery County, MD, who was the Director of Fire/Rescue Services in July 1974[2]. Chief David Gratz first started the design of a physical fitness routine in which firefighter applicants would participate in to see if the new applicants had the physical ability to complete jobs during an actual emergency fire situation. Chief Gratz worked with specialist from the Human Performance Laboratory at the Sports Medicine Center of the University of Maryland to design such physical challenges for the new firefighter applicants.

The challenge started off life from 100 firefighters from seven districts of the Washington DC area. 100 firefighters successfully completed the 5 challenges designed by Chief Gratz. The 5 challenges included: stair climb with a high-rise pack, hose hoist, forcible entry, hose advance, and a victim rescue. As a result, the 5 activities was considered a successful entry-level procedure for fire districts throughout the country to participant in.

The first challenge began and was won by Prince William County, VA in 1991. This was the one and only challenge held in 1991, and the success quickly grew the year after. In 1992, seven challenges were completed by firefighters throughout the United States. Along with many sponsors, spectators and competitors began to emerge as the Firefighter Combat Challenge gained popularity in 1992. DuPont became the main sponsor of all the challenges throughout the year of 1992.


All Firefighters, both currently employed or retired, which are members of any first responder organizations (EMS or Fire-Rescue) are eligible to compete in the challenge. The challenge may be completed by one individual competitor or a team[3]. The team may not consist of more than 5 individuals, but all individuals must be from the same fire department. The team completes the course using a baton. This baton must be passed on to the next individual in the next event in order to complete the course. A baton is not necessary if the challenge is to be completed by only one competitor though.


A total of 5 events must be completed consecutively in the order below.[4]. Each competitor is required to wear helmet, coat and pants with liners, boots, and gloves. Also a breathing apparatus know as a SCBA must be worn during the entire challenge. The entire challenge is timed from the beginning of the first event to the finish of the fifth event. The maximum time a competitor has to complete the entire course is 7 minutes. Completion times of the entire course below 3 minutes are considered excellent. Times below 5 minutes are considered acceptable[4]. Since this challenge is extremely physical, the course director has the power to end a competition when he or she sees that the competitor is risking their own health.

Stair Climb with High Rise Pack[edit]

The first event the firefighters take part in is the Stair Climb. This challenge consists of a 42 pound hose which must be carried up six flights of stairs[4]. This activity is meant to replicate a five story building which water is needed at the top. The hose which is 42 pounds is a standard length hose used by firefighters that is 100 feet long and 1.75 inches thick. The stairwell consists of six sets of stairs, each with ten steps. This hose must be carried by the firefighter up the stairs and placed in a container box on the top story of the stairwell. The hose may not touch the ground at any point and must only be finally placed in the container box at the top of the stairway[2]. Once the 42 pound hose is placed in the container box at the top, the firefighter can proceed with the second event listed below. Once the firefighter is completed with the second event,the firefighter must then descend down the stairs, touching each stair and holding on to both handrails on each side of the stairway. Once the firefighter is at the floor, he or she can then go onto the next event. Their time is continued and any penalties will be added to the final time. Penalties include not touching every step or holding onto the hand rails, which results in a 2 second time addition to their final time per occurrence. The firefighter may also be disqualified if at any time the hose comes off or slides out of the container at the top of the stairway[2].

Hose Hoist[edit]

Hose Hoist-Competitor raising up 45lb hose up the 3 story stairwell

The second event the firefighter takes part in is the Hose Hoist. The participant must pull up a 45 pound hose, hanging off the side of the stairwell, up the 3 story stairwell[4]. The firefighter is not allowed to touch anything but the 3 story tall platform and the rope which he or she is pulling up. The 45lb hose is a donut roll of Angus large diameter hose hose, which is one of the most durable and lightweight of hoses used to bring water to the inside of a burning building. Time continues from the previous event. The 45lb hose leaves the ground level and comes to rest once the entire hose is above the railing of the 6 story tall platform in which the firefighter is standing on and placed in the hose container, which is also located on the top floor. The firefighter must have both feet on the floor and may not retrieve the hose if it falls. If either he or she leaves one foot off the platform, he or she will be disqualified from the event.

Forcible Entry[edit]

Forcible Entry-Competitor hitting 165lb beam with 9lb sledgehammer

The third event is the Forcible Entry challenge. This event is meant to simulate a firefighter breaking down a door or wall to gain entry to a burning building. This challenge consists of a firefighter standing over a 165 pound beam under his or her feet. He must continuous slam a 9 pound sledgehammer to the 165 pound beam beneath him until the beam has moved 5 feet[4]. The firefighter must keep both hands below a tape marked line on the sledgehammer, and only contact the beam with the head of the sledgehammer[2]. This tape marked line is 1 foot down from the head of the sledgehammer. The upper edge of the beam being hit will be covered with pressure sensitive tape, making any other contacts other than the head of the sledgehammer visible when a mark appears on the tape. The firefighter will receive a warning for the first handle strike that makes a mark. Any hit by the handle afterwords will add 5 seconds to the final time. Pushing, and raking of the beam is not allowed and is grounds for disqualification. Time is continued from the previous event once the first hit is made, and the event is completed once the competitor places the sledgehammer on a platform at the end of the 5 foot distance. The entire sledgehammer must be placed on the 2 ft by 3ft platform in order to go on to the next event.

Hose Advance[edit]

Hose Advance- Competitor releasing the nozzle to spray target once through the swinging doors

The forth challenge is the Hose advance. This is meant to simulate a firefighter running fire engine towards a close fire. The competitor first sprints 140 feet. Once at 140ft, he or she picks up a 1.75in diameter charged hose, filled with pressurized water, then sprint with the hose five more feet with the charged hose, and dragged an additional 75 feet[2]. Once at the 75ft line and through the swinging doors, the competitor must then open the hose nozzle, releasing water onto a small target. Then he or she must close the hose nozzle once he or she hits the target, drop the hose and the event is completed[4]. The hose nozzle may only be opened once the nozzle opens the swinging doors, if the nozzle is opened earlier a 2 second penalty will be added to the final time. If the competitor does not close the nozzle, he or she must come back close the nozzle and then resume to the final event.

Victim Rescue[edit]

Victim Rescue- Competitor dragging mannequin from behind down the 100ft runway

The fifth and final event is the Victim Rescue. This event is meant to simulate a firefighter removing a victim from a fire as quickly as possible to avoid injury to the victim due to the fire. A 175 pound mannequin must be picked up from the ground, grabbed by the competitor from the back and dragged backwards 100 feet[4]. The competitor may not pick up the mannequin off the ground and must drag it backwards at all points of time. The competitor must grab the mannequin from behind with his or her arms beneath the mannequins arms and up around the mannequin's chest. Time ends once the 175 pound mannequin and the competitor passes the 100ft line[2]. Then competition has ended and time is stopped.


  1. ^ [1]. Stefano, Mike. Physical Preparations for the Firefighter Combat Challenge . Retrieved on 29 Oct 2009. <$58859>.
  2. ^ a b c d e f [2], About The Firefighter Challenge. Retrieved on 29 Oct 2009. <>. .
  3. ^ [3], SCOTTFireFit Championships Description & Rules. Retrieved on 29 Oct 2009. <>. .
  4. ^ a b c d e f g [4], Combat Challenge Team. Retrieved on 29 Oct 2009. <>. . Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "test2" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).

External Links[edit]

Category:Firefighting Category:Firefighting in the United States