Air Force Academy firefighters set world record at skills competition
The Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge gathers top firefighters to challenge each other as they race through tasks such as dragging hoses and saving victims
By Tom Roeder
LONGMONT, Colo. — A team of middle-aged Air Force Academy firefighters set a world record Sunday in a competition that tested their blaze-battling skills.
It's the latest in a pile of honors for academy crews who are perennial contenders in the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge. The contest gathers top firefighters from around the state and nation to challenge each other and the clock as they race through firefighting tasks such as scaling ladders, dragging hoses and saving mock victims.
At the weekend contest in Longmont, the over-40 team from the academy's fire department amazed competitors by completing the challenge in 1 minute and 10 seconds - the top time ever recorded for a team of graying firefighters.
They weren't the only older academy firefighters showing off new tricks.
"In addition to the "over 40" relay team's new world record, Fire Chief Kenneth Helgerson took first place in the 'Over 50' age category," the academy said in a news release.
While other agencies in the Pikes Peak region have competed in the events, none take it as seriously as the academy department, which includes civilian employees and uniformed airmen.
Helgerson says training for the competition keeps his firefighters fit and hones skills his department seldom gets to use at the academy, where they ensure the safety of 4,000 cadets and a like number of faculty, staff and civilian workers.
In addition to Helgerson and the academy's over-40 firefighters, two other relay teams and two top firefighters for the school also placed at the Longmont event.
That qualifies all of them to compete for the title of world's best at the World Championships in Louisville, Ky., in October.
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