30th September 2016
The Toughest Young Fire Cadet Crew Challenge was held over the weekend of 20th & 21st August at Basildon Sporting Village in Essex. 11 Fire and Rescue Service crews, coming from all over the country, took part in a series of trials meant to test their teamwork, knowledge and agility. These were Essex, Mid and West Wales, Merseyside, Northamptonshire, Gloucestershire, South Wales, Staffordshire, Leicestershire, Cheshire, Bedfordshire and Greater Manchester.
In the preliminary rounds, the Cadets, grouped in crews of 6, went head-to-head on an athletics track carrying a large aluminium fire engine and completed a series of Fire Cadet-related tasks along the way. This included knots and lines, home fire safety, casualty handling, CPR, dam building and getting a line of delivery to work from a Light Portable Pump to hit a designed target. While the Cadets were battling on the athletics track, the organisers planned smaller side events such as a fun three-legged race for the Instructors, a hose running race and a PPE relay (relay race putting on different pieces of fire kit).
The overall winners of the main event were Mid and West Wales’s Ammanford Fire Cadets, with Essex coming a close second. The nail-biting action extended to third place as well – South Wales won the last position on the podium after a close run off with Bedfordshire. There was also an award for overall sportsmanship, dignity and respect for others which was won by Croxteth, a unit from Merseyside, re-launched with help from UYSAF funds. The Croxteth cadets distinguished themselves by shaking the hands of their fellow competitors before and after each heat – which was considered very mature and respectful.
Suzy Tosi – Nile, Youth Teams Co-ordinator for the Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, commended the Croxteth cadets on their hard work during the 2-day event and said the cadets “were an absolute credit to themselves, to the organisation and to the brand of national fire cadets”.
Daniel,16, from Croxteth said “My weekend trip to Essex was memorable and a good experience. It brought out a competitive side of our crew and pushed us to our peak and above. I met new people from other cadet units and enjoyed spending time with my crew. It was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget”. Lucas, 17 agreed with Daniel saying “I really enjoyed the weekend to Essex as it developed my teamwork and competitive side. Also I enjoyed socialising with other cadet units.”
The Toughest Young Fire Cadet Crew Challenge was first held in 2008 for the World Firefighter Games, but this year’s event was the biggest yet. The organisers hope to make the Challenge an annual event and are already looking at having the winners of each year’s event host it the following year.
Phil Garrigan, Chair of the National Fire Cadet Board and Deputy Chief Fire Officer of Merseyside said: “I believe that the National Fire Cadets programme can play a massive part in a young person’s life, developing skills and igniting a potential within them.
Challenges such as the Toughest Young Fire Crew bring cadets together to share experiences and create memories exposing the cadets to people from different social and cultural backgrounds in a fun, but challenging environment. Their collective skills and team work are tested to the maximum. These experiences epitomise what I believe the Cadet programme is all about and I can’t thank Essex County Fire and Rescue Service enough for hosting the event.”