HORRY COUNTY, SC(WMBF) - Firefighters have to be in top physical and mental form to keep your family safe in dangerous situations.
Horry County Fire Rescue's Combat Challenge Team, aka Team Horry, is currently preparing for the World Firefighter Combat Challenge Championships in Phoenix, Arizona.
Team Horry will compete to be the strongest, fastest, most mentally focused team in the world. The practice and competition prepares them for real-life situations.
The team spends thousands of hours off-the-clock practicing and training. The challenge is comprised of obstacle course-like tests.
The teams with the best scores progress in the championships, and the one with the top score in the finals wins it all.
Five members of Team Horry will compete in the World Championships. Michael Medeiros, Wellness Coordinator for HCFR, is a member of the team.
"It's the best of all teams across the entire nation, and world," he said.
Last year, there were firefighters from 14 different countries, and Team Horry placed second.
This year, they're out for redemption, but at the end of the day, their jobs got them involved with the competition, and the competition makes them better at their jobs.
"Past limits you're not even sure you have, or had," Medeiros says. "It's those limits that you've got to exceed, and pass to be the top competitors in this sport. That then reflects onto the level of health and fitness you have on the job."
Because of the competition training, he says they are less exhausted in an intense rescue or fire emergency, with more energy on the job. He says firefighters have to have a "whatever it takes" mentality to breakthrough the barriers of exhaustion.
"Our guys find themselves being able to pass through that. Even the folks that used to be on the team. THey've used those mental barriers that they broke through when they used to train, on the job."
The weeklong competition kicks off November 2. Team Horry will compete with between 80 and 120 other teams from across the world.