Competition heats up for firies

THE competition is hotting up and the Coffs Coast is up there with the best of them.

Fire station crews from Dorrigo and Coffs Harbour are sitting pretty in the top 10 as they head into today’s final round of the NSW Fire Brigades’ State Firefighter Championships at Banora Point.

Unfortunately the Bowraville contingent was a late scratching from the titles, which were officially opened on Sunday by NSW Fire Brigades Commissioner Greg Mullins.

“This competition is really meant to hone the skills of the firefighters who are tasked with setting up their equipment very quickly as a team,” fire brigades senior public affairs officer David Southcott said.

“All events relate to contemporary fire-fighting practices and it’s mostly the retained firefighters who are involved. They have a lot of fun, but they take it very seriously.”

The crews have been battling it out in 15 events as well as another section reserved for veterans.

As many as 500 firefighters are representing more than 40 teams from NSW, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and New Zealand at the championships.

“Over five days of competition, firefighters are showcasing the skills and expertise modern firefighters use every day, whether attacking a fire or responding to a major emergency,” Mr Southcott said.

In other news, a dozen Melbourne firefighters will ride into Coffs Harbour next week during the Pedal for Prostate Around-Australia Ride.

The firefighters, aged from 29 to 56, will pedal some 15,000 kilometres in a personal battle against the elements and the distance.

In two-man relay style, each cyclist will ride three times daily and will cover about 2500km individually over the 25 days without any rest day.

Their goal is to raise several hundred thousand dollars for the EJ Whitten Foundation which was set up in 1995 to commemorate the memory of AFL football legend Ted Whitten and also help generate funding for prostate cancer research. The ride hits Coffs Harbour next Wednesday.

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