Pelham Firefighter wins at regional competition

Published 11:34 am Thursday, July 13, 2023

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By BARTON PERKINS | Staff Writer

PELHAM – During this year’s Southeast Regional Firefighter competition, Pelham’s very own Jake Lanier placed first in both the Male Tandem and Overall Male Division 1. 

The Firefighter Challenge began back in 1991 as a competition between five different departments and has since swelled to include participants from hundreds of different fire departments throughout the US and Canada and continues to expand into other countries, including New Zealand, Germany, Argentina, Chile and South Africa. The challenge seeks to encourage firefighter fitness and demonstrate the profession’s rigors to the public. 

The Firefighter Challenge simulates these rigors by having competitors compete in a series of five challenges, including: climbing a 5-story tower, hoisting, chopping, dragging hoses and rescuing a life-sized, 175 lb. “victim” as they race against themselves, their opponent and the clock. In each of these challenges, competitors wear full “bunker gear” and a breathing apparatus.

“It’s an event that measures firefighters’ endurance and strength and agility,” said Battalion Chief Bill Jones. “We used to use it for a physical fitness test.”

Jake Lanier joined the Pelham Fire Department around three years ago; before that, he served on the Montgomery Fire Department. Lanier has been competing in the Firefighter Challenge for years, and won the title of ‘Fastest Firefighter in the World’ in 2019 after finishing first in individual races at the World Firefighter Combat Challenge. Before that, he spent seven years competing, and for four of those years, his team won the World Championship and set world records in the process.

Lanier’s recent performance in the Southeast Regional Firefighter Championships has guaranteed him a spot in the national competition, which will be held Sept. 5-9 in Hoover.