Rossiter and Green have been with the Carbonear Volunteer Fire Department for approximately four and three years respectively. When they heard that the FireFit challenge would be making its way to Conception Bay South, they decided to take their skills as firefighters to the next level.
The FireFit challenge is a regional competition, pitting firefighters against the clock in a race through an obstacle course built to represent challenges a firefighter may face while on the scene of a real fire.
The challenge sees firefighters suit up in gear and complete various tasks such as carrying hefty hoses up six-storey structures, and forced entry – all things they may have to tackle when responding to an emergency.
The challenge took place over the course of three days, Aug. 4-6, with those who finished with the best times moving on to the national competition.
Rossiter completed the challenge with a final time of 2:43, while Green came out with a time of 3:05.
“It was an unreal experience, it really was,” said Rossiter.
“Yeah, it was tough, but we loved it. It was so much fun, and it’s amazing to see all these firefighters come together from all over the place,” Green added. “It wasn’t like ‘ok, these guys are my competition, I have to do better than them.’ It was more like a big family coming together to have fun. Your only competition was the clock – everyone was so supportive of each other.”
When asked if they would go on to take the challenge again in the future, both Green and Rossiter responded with an enthusiastic yes.
“It’s funny because, after the challenge, me and Nick said we’d take the rest of August, and then start training again starting in September,” Green explained. “But once the week rolled around again, I woke up one morning and ended up going to the gym. When I was leaving, I had a text from Nick that said ‘gym?’ So the whole relaxation thing lasted maybe a day and a half before we were back into it.”
Rossiter and Green, who both work for Eastern Health, made history as the first two members of the Carbonear Volunteer Fire Department to take on the FireFit challenge.
In order to prepare, the two had a mock-setup they used to train and practice with for the challenge itself.
“We did what we could to prepare for it, but at the end of the day, there’s nothing that really compares to actually being there and doing the real thing,” Rossiter said. “It’s an amazing experience, no matter how you think you did at the end of the day.”
Both firefighters noted that the amount of support they received from fellow members of the brigade, as well as family and friends, really helped push them forward during the experience. Rossiter and Green also sported homemade shirts, backed with a logo and “Carbonear FireFit team” branded from shoulder to shoulder.
With one challenge under their belt, the two firefighters are eager to get back into the groove of training, and look forward to their next opportunity to challenge not only themselves, but also each other’s skills.
“It’s an unforgettable experience for any firefighter, I think. You really get to challenge yourself and push yourself to do as best you can,” said Rossiter.
“I agree – I think if anyone out there is thinking about doing it, then do it. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you’ve been a firefighter,” added Green. “There were guys there in their late 50s who have been doing it for years, and then you have guys like me, who are in their early 40s and only rookies. It’s about the experience over anything else.”