Mission resident Reid Taylor’s firefighting team in Delta placed first at a recent world championship event.
The Hatzic Secondary School graduate propelled his team to victory at the international Firefighter Combat Challenge in Las Vegas on Oct. 26. His Westshore Terminals Delta team beat out 14 other countries.
Taylor had to complete an intensely physical course that simulates real firefighting scenarios while wearing the full 45-pound firefighting gear, and breathing from the tank strapped to his back.
Taylor and his teammates each carried a 42-pound hose up several flights of stairs, then hoisted the hose to a platform before running down. Next, Taylor simulated a forcible entry scenario. Using an infamous device called the Keiser force machine, he displaced a 160-pound steel beam by five feet by hammering it with a mallet.
“It’s probably the worst part of the race. It’s extremely heavy,” said Taylor.
He then ran between cones to a charged hose, sprayed at a target, and dragged the hose another 75 feet. Finally, he rescued a 175-pound mannequin from a hypothetical fire.
“That’s where a lot of people fall, because they’re going backward. It’s heavy, and by that time you’re exhausted,” said Taylor.
Taylor finished 24th out of 165 participants. His time was added to the other top three competitors on his Westshore Terminals Delta team, which catapulted the team into first place overall.
Last year, the team placed second. To beat out their competition this round, the Westshore Terminals Delta team began a gruelling training program in February 2013 that consisted of nine weekly sessions with a professional trainer.
“We were very busy, and doing it all again would be extremely hard,” said Taylor. “We won, but it was a gruelling year for sure.”
Nevertheless, Taylor is competitive and has his eye on the national title in 2014. He has been hooked on the competitions ever since winning rookie of the year in Canada in 2011, and ranking well in other courses since then. And he has a strong motivator around him: his Delta teammate Jamie McGarva came in second nationally in 2013.
“It’s a pretty tough sport, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do since I wanted to be a fireman. Keeps you active,” said Taylor.