Picayune Fire Department trains for competition

Published 4:34 pm Thursday, September 21, 2006

For a firefighter, putting out fires and saving lives can be hard work, but training to go to a competition where a fire department flexes their life saving skills is no cake walk either.

Picayune’s Fire Fighters Challenge team has been training every day they are on duty, about two or three days a week, to get ready for upcoming competition events, said Picayune Fire Department Training Officer Barry Lee. This year’s Picayune team will be the same as last year with Joe Mack Russell, Anthony Lossett, Noel Burge, Cruz Russell and Josh Abercrombie.

As a warm up, the Picayune Fire Department plans to hold their first in-house competition where any fire department who wants to compete can come and do so, Lee said.

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The competition will be 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Picayune Fire Department, Lee said. He said there will be team and individual competitions held at the event. A traveling trophy will be up for grabs, so the competition will become an annual event where the trophy is the prize, he said.

Seven days later on Saturday, Oct. 14, Picayune’s Fire Fighter Challenge team plans to travel to Atlanta, Ga. to compete in a national competition before they compete in the world competition, Lee said. Picayune’s team qualified for the world competition when they competed in last year’s national challenge, Lee said.

“They’re already qualified for the world competition, but they’re using Atlanta to practice and be exposed to the actual competition,” Lee said.

The Picayune team’s members built their own props to train with, utilizing donated and purchased materials.

Lee said a sled, such as the one they are using to train with, which simulates using a hammer in real-life fire situations, would cost about $3,500. The team members built theirs for about $300.