Wellington’s Fire and Rescue firefighters got to test their skills against the best in the region at the Firefighters State Championships in Dubbo.
The competition involved firefighters from 21 different stations across the Central West region, including Wellington, Dubbo, Trangie, Griffith and others.
The Wellington entrants from station 493 included Station Captain Mark Moroney, Deputy Captain John Hart and firefighters Michael Moroney and Josh Lang.
They placed 13th overall, being awarded a very respectable 338 points, just 1 point behind 12th place finishers Port MacQuarie.
The two day championship involves 14 events that test firefighter’s skill with their equipment and their timing and can often demand incredibly precise measurements in timing to decide a winner.
“The events are designed around normal practices we observe in the use of our equipment and around us starting and finishing the task in the shortest possible amount of time,” Station Captain Mark Moroney said.
“The events are timed down to a thousandth of a second, so that’s margin of error and that can be the deciding gap between the competitors sometimes.”
In the Urban Pump Suction event on the final day, the Wellington team lost out on a third place finish by only .02 of a second.
The strict timing demands can drive the competitors to demonstrate their absolute best, with several firefighters going to the absolute limits in order to break several long-standing event records.
“We’d had a bit of a competitive rivalry with our neighbouring teams, all four of us were together and that was Wellington, Dubbo, Trangie and Delroy,” Captain Moroney said.
Captain Moroney did note that the championships do have a ‘competitive edge’, but highlighted the practical benefits to all the teams that compete over the importance of winning.
“The end result of these competitions is that we’re more familiar with our equipment and the crew at the station and the people in Wellington get a more skilled team as a result.”
“If a mistake gets made in training or in competition, you’re able to look at it and see what you did wrong and then you won’t make that mistake in the field.”
The competitive nature of the competition can be a powerful motivator for the teams involved, but for Wellington station, it’s as much about history.
“Wellington Station has been representing and competing in these events since the 1950’s,” Captain Moroney said.
“So it’s not just a matter of competition, it’s also that we’re upholding tradition.”