Meet Suffolk’s team for the fire services’ ‘Olympics’

Suffolk's team in the British Firefighter Challenge, from the left, Paul Grimes, Warren Rodwell, Matthew Lee and Jason Bird ANL-160107-100741001

Suffolk's team in the British Firefighter Challenge, from the left, Paul Grimes, Warren Rodwell, Matthew Lee and Jason Bird ANL-160107-100741001

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Four firefighters are in training to represent Suffolk in the fire service’s national ‘Olympics’ at the end of the month.

Watch commander Warren Rodwell and firefighter Jason Bird from Clare station and firefighters Paul Grimes and Matthew Lee, from Newmarket, are taking part in the British Firefighter Challenge, which will be held at Nottingham University’s Jubilee Campus on July 30.

Suffolk's team in the British Firefighter Challenge, from the left, Paul Grimes, Warren Rodwell, Matthew Lee and Jason Bird ANL-160107-100817001

Suffolk's team in the British Firefighter Challenge, from the left, Paul Grimes, Warren Rodwell, Matthew Lee and Jason Bird ANL-160107-100817001

The challenge involves them carrying out a series of fire fighting and rescue techniques while wearing full fire fighting kit, including breathing apparatus.

Among the tasks, completed one after the other, are running up the stairs to the top of a three-storey tower then hauling a 70mm hose over the guard rail before running back down the stairs with the hose in a box. There is also forced entry, dragging and rolling up a 70mm fire hose, carrying a heavy foam container and dragging a 70kg drill dummy.

All four answered an appeal for contestants on the Suffolk Fire Service’s web magazine.

Suffolk’s assistant chief fire officer Dan Fearn said: “For us, it’s important to see other groups and to get people mixing with other fire services so they see how other services work.

“Entering road traffic accident and breathing apparatus competitions is about bringing back expertise and experience.

“We will have times when people come back and say there’s a bit of equipment we could use. Even internally, we’ve got two stations here who don’t always work together doing something different.”

Jason said: “It’s a bit of a challenge – something new. It will be a bit of fun, too.”

Paul said: “It’s not just us. We had stores send extra kit because we don’t want to use out operational kit.”

Warren added: “They called up and asked if there was anything we needed. We’ve got support from everyone.”

Dan thinks it is the first time Suffolk Fire Service has entered the event and Paul confirmed: “I’ve been in the service for 17 years and I’ve not known the fire service enter a national event.”

So what do they think their chances are of winning in Nottingham.

Jason confidently replied: “I reckon we can get in the top three – we might need a defib at the end of it, though.”