PHOENIX, AZ (WMBF) – Horry County Fire Rescue's Combat Challenge Team, Team Horry, took home the bronze medal in the World Firefighter Combat Challenge Championships in Phoenix, Arizona over the weekend.
Team Horry competed against firefighter teams from across the globe in challenges designed to test the team's professional rigors. According to the Firefighter Combat Challenge website: "Wearing 'full bunker gear' and the Scott 5.5 Air-Pak breathing apparatus, pairs of competitors race head-to-head as they simulate the physical demands of real-life firefighting by performing a linked series of five tasks including climbing the 5-story tower, hoisting, chopping, dragging hoses and rescuing a life-sized, 175 lb. "victim" as they race against themselves, their opponent and the clock.
The team spent thousands of hours off-the-clock practicing and training. Last year, there were firefighters from 14 different countries, and Team Horry placed second.
"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."