County in safe hands as Northamptonshire firefighters take top spots in international challenge

Northamptonshire Firefighters have shown their strength in the Cheshire Firefighter Challenge held this month (August) with four of the county’s firefighters finishing in the top twenty, with one scooping first place. One hundred firefighters signed up to the Challenge from as far afield as Germany, New Zealand and USA to take on the gruelling competition that tests their physical and mental strength and ability.

Aaron Childs who is a full-time firefighter at The Mounts Fire Station in Northampton, took first place overall, with a winning time of 2.50 minutes, beating the next competitor by less than half a second. This win means that Aaron, who is not new to the Cheshire Firefighter Challenge, retains top spot for the second year running.

Firefighter Dean Keeber was positioned fourth overall with an incredible time of 2.54 minutes and wins his age group by almost five seconds. Dean was followed closely by Group Manager Stef Douglas at 3.27 minutes, achieving third place in his age category and 15thplace overall, and firefighter Paul Webb who completed the challenge in 3.29 minutes and was placed fourth in his age group and 17th on the leader board.

Watch Aaron and Dean completing the Challenge 

Wearing full PPE and breathing apparatus, firefighters had to complete eight work-related activities; a 200m shuttle run, a 20m hose reel drag, 20m hose reel pull, 10m foam drum carry, 25m hose roll out, 25m hose make up, 50m hose run and 50m 70kg casualty drag.

Due to the COVID pandemic, this is the second year that the Cheshire Firefighters Challenge has been run virtually at the individual fire stations. Participants had to film and time each other and send results to event organisers Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Rob Porter, said: “As operational fire staff we are required to maintain a certain level of fitness so that we can carry out firefighting duties effectively and safely. We undergo rigorous fitness assessments, but the Northamptonshire team who have participated in the Cheshire Firefighter Challenge have really pushed themselves and should all be incredibly proud of their achievements.”

Eight firefighters from Northamptonshire took part in the Cheshire Firefighter Challenge and you can find out more about them on the NFRS website.  The team consists of group manager Stef Douglas, firefighters Aaron Childs, Dean Keeber, Paul Webb, Lee Brown, training instructor crew manager Bec Meachin and on-call firefighters Ben Wilkie and Sarah Damani.

Team captain, Dean Keeber, wanted to thank Chief Fire Officer, Darren Dovey for supporting the team with kit and entry fees to the FSC event. Dean said; “This is a great opportunity to represent our service and our county. We will wear the badge with pride.”

The team will now focus on the British Firefighter Challenge being held in October at the Fire Service College in Gloucestershire, where they will compete against 250 other firefighters.

If you would like to support the Northamptonshire Team and help raise vital funds for The Fire Fighters Charity, which supports the health and wellbeing of serving and retired fire service personnel, please visit the events page and donate via the JustGiving page.

Thanks also to Nathan Godby owner of Rushden Graphics for printing the t-shirts and hoodies.

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