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Northamptonshire firefighter brings home medals from prestigious overseas competition

Dean Keeber, wearing a blue shirt with two red medals around his neck, poses with the United Kingdom flag next to a sign that says Aramco Firefighter Challenge, March 5-9, 2024 Dhahran Expo

A Northamptonshire firefighter has been flying the flag for his local Service in a prestigious competition in Saudi Arabia pitting firefighters from across the world against each other.

Dean Keeber, a firefighter on Red Watch at Wellingborough, made the eight-hour flight to Dammam earlier this month to compete in the Aramco ‘Feel the Burn’ Firefighter Challenge – a five-day event starting on March 4 with more than 300 firefighters from 29 different countries across the globe taking part.

In front of a total of almost 90,000 spectators across the whole tournament, Dean – who has taken part in a number of Firefighter Challenges both in the UK and overseas – managed to win two bronze medals in his age category.

Dean Keeber wearing a pink firefighter tunic, with breathing apparatus on his back.

“It’s like a mini-Olympics for firefighters, and I was approached to take part in December, so it didn’t give me much time to prepare for it,” said Dean. “But luckily I’d been keeping myself fit over Christmas, so that and my previous hard work in other competitions had put me in good stead.”

Dean was awarded third place in the ‘Toughest Firefighter Alive’ challenge. The gruelling contest of four stages over 40 minutes consisted of pulling hoses, dragging casualties, climbing a three-metre wall, carrying heavy weights up towers, crawling through tunnels and finishing with a 10-floor run to the top of a tower. To make it even tougher, all this was done wearing full fire kit, boots and breathing apparatus in temperatures nearing 30°C. He was narrowly pipped to first and second place by competitors from Norway and the Czech Republic.

In the foreground is Dean Keeber, wearing a blue and pink fire tunic, who is show sitting down during a firefighter challenge.

He was also awarded bronze in the Stair Climb Race, which saw him summit 13 floors and 312 steps to the top of the King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture building. Dean was also a member of the UK Mixed Relay team that came in sixth place.

As well as maintaining his fitness, the competitions Dean takes part in help him keep his firefighting skills up-to-date and potentially learn new skills from across the world – all of which helps him to keep residents safe in Northamptonshire.

Dean said: “This competition has given me a chance to visit a country that I wouldn’t typically visit, and while we were there it was wonderful to be shown around some of the Saudi fire stations and see how they approach things and learn from that. We also got shown around some of the tourist hotspots, so it was a great visit that I’ve taken a lot away from.”

Dean Keeber stands in front of a tower in Saudi Arabia which is shown in the background

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