PEARL, MS (WLBT) - The same men that protect our cities everyday were putting their live saving skills to the test. Friday was the first day of the Firefighter Combat Challenge trials in the Bass Pro parking lot in Pearl.
It's a competition like no other, testing strength, skill and speed.
"Climbing stairs, pulling hoes, hitting, they got a sled over there where you hit 165 pound block, you have to drive it backwards five feet, that's day to day operations for firefighters," said Reservoir Fire Deputy Chief Josh Swales.
Every year dozens of firefighters from across the south east converge in central Mississippi for the Firefighter Combat Challenge Trials. They train hard to prepare while improvising where they can.
"Some of the workouts are called insanity," said Ridgeland firefighter Richard Mark Greenwood, Jr. "We've also used our own little makeshift stuff, running in our gear with bottles on our backs. (We use just anything and everything that could prepare us because it takes a lot out of you."
To qualify to move onto the National competition or the World Championship the firefighters must complete the course on their own under one minute and 50 seconds.
"It actually prepared us to be ready for the real life event. Whenever we have to go into a burning building or run up some stairs or go and drag some victim from a burning building we want to be ready for that," said World Championship 2008 Rookie of the Year Clarence Parks.
Beyond the bragging rights, the competition is about staying healthy in a job where fitness is everything.
"Heart attack, stroke, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in firefighters. This promotes health, wellness and safety," said Pearl Fire Assistant Chief Brad Thornton.
The competition continues Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Admission is free.
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