Aiming for the highest heights

Raissa Tetanish
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Amherst firefighter Mark Goodwin drags Rescue Randy in preparation for this year's combat challenge. Although it isn't until the summer and fall, Goodwin has been training throughout the winter in the hopes of reaching his goal to make it to the world competition. Raissa Tetanish - Amherst Daily News

AMHERST - It's never too late to start training, especially when you have your eye on the world stage.

For Amherst firefighter Mark Goodwin, that comes in the form of the combat challenge.

"My goal this year is to make it to the world competition," he said of the mid-November Firefit challenge in Myrtle Beach.

"Last year at the national competition, I inadvertently qualified for worlds."

With such a high goal, Goodwin has already been training, working on physical aspects over the winter and now working toward training on the stairs.

"My largest concern is getting to Medicine Hat," said Goodwin, referencing the national competition this year in Alberta where he'll have a chance to qualify for the world competition.

While his ultimate goal is to make it to worlds, Goodwin does have a goal to run the five-stage course in less than one minute and 50 seconds.

Along the way, Goodwin is hoping local businesses, organizations or even residents will lend a helping hand.

"Including worlds, it would cost me about $5,800," he said.

He's already approached the fire department for assistance, as well as the Town of Amherst and some businesses.

"I'm looking for new racing boots. Mine are from 2003 and are basically Stone Age. The new ones are much lighter."

Goodwin said new racing boots cost between $400-$450.

"I have racing gear of my own and the (fire) chief just got me new gloves."

Anyone wishing to support Goodwin on his quest for the world Firefit competition can contact the Amherst Fire Department at 667-2518, or email Goodwin at


Firefit stages


Stage one: Stair climb

- Firefighters carry a 42-pound, four-inch hose up a five-storey tower. It must be carried on the outer shoulder and deposited completely in or on the box on the top floor, 40 feet above ground.


Stage two: Hose hoist

- Firefighters on top of the tower must haul a 45-pound hose, usually hand over hand, up to the top landing of the tower. It's then lifted and placed in a box at the top.


Stage three: Forcible entry

- Forcible entry utilizes a chopping simulator that sees firefighters use an eight-pound mallet to move a beam past the decal. The firefighter then places the hammer in a designated area.


Stage four: Run and hose advance

- Firefighters walk or run around hydrants for 140 feet then shoulder a nozzle end of a fully charged hoseline. The hose is then dragged 75 feet into a nozzle zone before the firefighter has to hit a target with a water stream. The nozzle is then shut off and dropped to the ground.


Stage five: Rescue Randy

- Firefighters drag Rescue Randy, a 165-pound mannequin backwards for a distance of 100 feet. Rescue Randy can't be carried in the arms or over the shoulder, nor grasped by its clothing or appendages.

Organizations: Amherst Fire Department

Geographic location: AMHERST, Myrtle Beach, Medicine Hat Alberta

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