Port Macquarie fire fighters travel to New Zealand for Australasian Firefighter Championship

New Zealand awaits: Port Macquarie’s team consists of Paul Clarke, Patrick Levitzke, Mitch Rourke, Holly Anderson (with hose), Seth Vagg and Emma Parke. Photo: Matt Attard
New Zealand awaits: Port Macquarie’s team consists of Paul Clarke, Patrick Levitzke, Mitch Rourke, Holly Anderson (with hose), Seth Vagg and Emma Parke. Photo: Matt Attard

PORT Macquarie firefighters are ready to embark on a quest to be crowned the best in Australasia.

Held bi-annually, the Australasian Firefighter Championship will be held in Carterton, New Zealand, from November 17 to November 19.

The top teams from Australia and New Zealand qualified for the championship by accumulating points over the past two years.

Port Macquarie’s team qualified in fifth position in NSW, with teams also coming from Melbourne, Hobart, Victoria, Queensland, Northern Territory and of course New Zealand.

Firefighter Paul Clarke said it is a great chance to show off, and hone, their skills.

“The competition simulates the fire fighting techniques that we practice day in and day out,” he said.

“There are 10 events over a two day period that simulates fire fighting conditions.

“The host country is expected to win, because they use their own equipment which is different to what we use in Australia, so it will be a good challenge.”

Port Macquarie’s team consists of Mr Clarke, Patrick Levitzke, Mitch Rourke, Holly Anderson, Seth Vagg and Emma Parke.

The team will have only one training session the day before competition to familiarise themselves with New Zealand’s equipment.

“We won the first championship in Coffs Harbour, and were consistently up there in the points system,” Mr Clarke said.

“The training we have done has been a bit of everything. It’s muscle memory. We’ve done a lot of hose training.

“Over the ten events you’ll run for about four minutes. It’s very fast paced.”

Events include teams of four, three and two members, meaning everyone will be given a go at different stages.

It will be Mr Rourke’s first time competing in such a prestigious event for fire fighters.

 “This will be my first championships and I’m expecting it to be a bit of fun,” he said.

“The training has been hard, but we’ll just take the bull by the horns when we get there and work it all out.

“It’s been good for team morale, and it takes a lot of skills back to the job when we perform out in the field.”​