“Fire Combat 360” was a Memorable Experience
In all my years working with fire fighters and safety professionals, I have rarely been as impressed by any single event as I was while covering 'Fire Combat 360', an international conference around what was called the 'two minute challenge' which tested the strength, stamina, fitness and agility of firefighters to the limit.
While most of the time, safety-related events are about spreading awareness, prevention and after incident safety drills and care, this was a platform where firefighters, defying age and sex, from 17 countries contested, along with India, to showcase a grueling fitness task involving lifting 90 kgs of safety gear across 3 floors, dragging an 80 kg dummy, representing a fire victim, along a lengthy distance and hosing to put out a mock fire – all in two minutes flat.
Mumbai Fire Chief – Dr. P S Rahangdale (Also Director MFS) who was instrumental in bringing this event to Mumbai, deserves special praise for the superb show and effort. It was held on the 8th, 9th & 10th of March and drew an appreciative audience who got to learn a thing or two about the kind of grueling work that firemen need to do to protect us when fire accidents occur. The event also gave the fire safety related people an insight into the fitness and alertness levels required to effectively tackle difficult situations and I am sure everyone had a lot to learn from the show.
Firefighting today, has come a long way with newer technologies, strategies and equipment coming into play. However, the physical fitness, quick thinking and courage required by an individual to jump into a death chamber remains the same and this event only underlined that reality.
Fire safety is about playing with fire, literally, and our brave hearts often do it without blinking as they take it as their sworn duty. So many of our firemen lose their limbs and lives fighting flames to save us each day. Yet, they get little recognition and respect from the media or the public.
Maybe this event was a BIG step towards changing that mind set.