Albert Lea Combat Squad to compete in firefighter challenge in Las Vegas

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Albert Lea Fire Department has established an organization called the “Combat Squad” that competes in the “Scott’s Firefighter Combat Challenge.”

Wearing “full bunker gear” and the Scott Air-Pak breathing apparatus, pairs of competitors simulate the physical demands of real-life firefighting by performing a linked series of five tasks, including climbing the five-story tower, hoisting, chopping, dragging hoses and rescuing a life-sized, 175-pound “victim” as they race against themselves, their opponent and the clock.”

The Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge World Championships are the culmination of a season full of hard work, dedication, and rigorous training. Beginning in early spring, the challenge consists of more than 25 regional events conducted throughout the United States and Canada. At the regional level, competitors must complete the competition course within a certain time limit in order to qualify for the world championships. At the World Championships, firefighter’s from all across the globe come to compete for the title, “Best of the Bravest.” The venue changes every year, and this year’s location will be held in Las Vegas on Fremont Street.

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This year, in the first attempt ever, the Albert Lea Combat Squad had traveled to Sioux Falls, S.D., and competed at the Midwest Regional Championships. The team finished in fourth place and beat the current Minnesota record that was previously held by St. Paul by more than four seconds. The squad will travel to Las Vegas on Nov. 11 and compete in the qualifying rounds on Nov. 12 and 13. The top 64 relay teams in the World will then be eligible to compete in the elimination round of the Finals held on Saturday, Nov. 15, which will be broadcast on VS cable network.

The squad is grateful to the following sponsors: Albert Lea Lions Club, Fisher’s Jeweler’s, Mrs. Gerry’s, Alliance Pipeline, Com-Tec, Clarey’s, Interstate Packaging, Simply-Sublime, Freeborn County Fire Association, Jensales, Dave Syverson, Albert Lea Medical Center, Krieger Beverage, Richard and Sheryl Sydnes, Munson’s Body Shop, Albert Lea Tribune, City Garage – Union & Supervisory Employees, Bayview Freeborn Funeral Home, Pizza Ranch, Powerblock, Paul Stieler, Local 1041, Albert Lea Fire Explorers and the Albert Lea Masonic Lodge.