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News :: IFA drills allow firemen to demonstrate skills they use to protect communities
· 10:22am September 11th, 2013
An important part of the Iowa Firefighters Association Convention – something that firefighters from many departments spend all year preparing for – is the Saturday contests.
Formally known as “Drills,” the contests involve the use of hoses, ropes and other equipment that firemen use when responding to fires or other emergencies.
While the most famous drill is the waterfight – where two teams of firefighters try to use water from a fire hose to force a barrel over their opponent’s head – there are many other events.
These contests by design reward the firefighters and teams who can do things well and quickly, whether it’s tying three knots in a rope or attaching nozzles and/or other parts of hoses.
While some departments do not regularly participate in many of these drills (Vinton and Garrison members did not this year; they were busy organizing the convention) other departments take the contests very seriously.
Some firemen spent many hours throughout the year practicing, with the goal of bringing home the first-place trophy for each event, as well as the large trophy that goes to the team that earned the most points that year.
In Iowa, the top two departments for the past several decades have been Chariton and State Center. Chariton won again this year, as it did every year since 2010. State Center finished second, and has finished first most of the years that Chariton did not.
“We do not like to lose,” said one Chariton firefighter.
For that reason, practicing those events is a regular part of the training routine in many departments.
Some firefighters even go into a dark room and practice their rope-tying skills in the dark so they can improve on their times.
IFA Chaplain Todd Edeker from Jewell in central Iowa summarized the purpose of the events in his prayer before the contests started.
These events, he said, “allow us to show off the skills we use to save others.”
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