Plettenberg Bay firefighters have already shown how tough they are by battling the devastating June 2017 fires, but soon they will be able to officially prove it at the Toughest Firefighter Alive (TFA) event in Cape Town next week.
About seven local firefighters will be participating in the event, which takes place at the Roeland Street fire station from August 10 to 12, Knysna Plett Herald reports.
The event is based on international TFA competitions including the World Firefighter Games also known as the world championship, and the European Open.
South African TFA organiser Mark Smith said these events were recognised as the most difficult firefighter competitions in the world. It is a fitness challenge specifically for firefighters, where they can compete in various male, female and team categories.
The South African TFA Open 2018 competition will be the fifth biennial running of the event, with past competitions having attracted teams and more than 100 firefighter participants from across the country.
Smith said the competition’s objectives included building morale among firefighters, promoting the profession, to improve skills and produce firefighters who were able to compete on an international stage.
One of the Plett competitors, Swannie Swanepoel, said the reason they wanted to compete was to put local firefighters “on the map”.
“We want to keep the Bitou flag flying high,” he added. Swanepoel, who started his career when he was only 16 after he was invited to volunteer at the Knysna fire services, has been in the fire services industry for almost 18 years.
Crossfit Plett owner Donald Ravenscroft said he heard about the firefighters’ plans to participate and offered to train them for the competition.
Ravenscroft explained that the event involved very tough tasks including ladder drills, hose carries, extinguishing fires – all while wearing their full “battle gear”.
He said the team was very committed, and has been training every day for the past two months.
“Their journey so far has been amazing,” Ravenscroft said.
He explained that not only have they been training, but they have also adjusted their diets. That has led not only to weight loss, but improved fitness skills and confidence.
The team, however, needs some assistance to get to the competition. The trip is set to cost them more than R7 500, including travel, accommodation, food and the necessary gear. If anyone wants to assist, contact Crossfit Plett on 044 533 0155 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.