VIDEO: Salmon Arm firefighters hone skills, race other halls, do ‘incredible job’

The last segment of the the Combined Timed Activity or CTA on Aug. 30 for the four fire halls which make up the Salmon Arm Fire Department included firing a hose in order to knock a cone off a bucket. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)The last segment of the the Combined Timed Activity or CTA on Aug. 30 for the four fire halls which make up the Salmon Arm Fire Department included firing a hose in order to knock a cone off a bucket. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm firefighters join the clouds Aug. 30, with help from the new Tower 3 truck with a 104-foot ladder. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)Salmon Arm firefighters join the clouds Aug. 30, with help from the new Tower 3 truck with a 104-foot ladder. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
After racing to put on their personal gear, firefighters get ready to navigate the cones in the Combined Timed Activity or CTA on Aug. 30 for the four fire halls which make up the Salmon Arm Fire Department. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)After racing to put on their personal gear, firefighters get ready to navigate the cones in the Combined Timed Activity or CTA on Aug. 30 for the four fire halls which make up the Salmon Arm Fire Department. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Recruits and junior firefighters were among those participating Aug. 30 in the Combined Timed Activity or CTA for the four fire halls which make up the Salmon Arm Fire Department. Wielding a hose and aiming at one of two cones was part of the exercise. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)Recruits and junior firefighters were among those participating Aug. 30 in the Combined Timed Activity or CTA for the four fire halls which make up the Salmon Arm Fire Department. Wielding a hose and aiming at one of two cones was part of the exercise. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
A firefighter quickly knocks off a cone ending one of three times a team from each fire hall in the Salmon Arm fire department goes through the Combined Timed Activity course on Aug. 30 at the Westgate Public Market. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)A firefighter quickly knocks off a cone ending one of three times a team from each fire hall in the Salmon Arm fire department goes through the Combined Timed Activity course on Aug. 30 at the Westgate Public Market. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Observer reporter Martha Wickett takes a swaying ride in the back seat of a Salmon Arm Hall 3 fire truck Aug. 30 as it goes through a serpentine of cones before stopping for the firefighters to hop out and set up a hose for the next portion of the skills competition. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)Observer reporter Martha Wickett takes a swaying ride in the back seat of a Salmon Arm Hall 3 fire truck Aug. 30 as it goes through a serpentine of cones before stopping for the firefighters to hop out and set up a hose for the next portion of the skills competition. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
The new 2022 Rosenbauer Commander aerial platform Tower 3 truck allowed firefighters to try out the new equipment on Aug. 30 during the skills competition held for the Salmon Arm Fire Department’s four halls. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)The new 2022 Rosenbauer Commander aerial platform Tower 3 truck allowed firefighters to try out the new equipment on Aug. 30 during the skills competition held for the Salmon Arm Fire Department’s four halls. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Lots of good-natured banter went on Aug. 30 during the Combined Timed Activity or CTA for the four fire halls which make up the Salmon Arm Fire Department. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)Lots of good-natured banter went on Aug. 30 during the Combined Timed Activity or CTA for the four fire halls which make up the Salmon Arm Fire Department. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
One of the requirements of the four-member teams from each of the four halls making up the Salmon Arm Fire Department was to attach hoses and then aim water to knock off a cone placed on a bucket. The event took place Aug. 30 in the area behind Westgate Public Market. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)One of the requirements of the four-member teams from each of the four halls making up the Salmon Arm Fire Department was to attach hoses and then aim water to knock off a cone placed on a bucket. The event took place Aug. 30 in the area behind Westgate Public Market. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm firefighters reach great heights Aug. 30, thanks to the new Tower 3 truck with a 104-foot ladder. The new truck was on site for the Combined Timed Activity competition between the four fire halls in the Salmon Arm Fire Department. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)Salmon Arm firefighters reach great heights Aug. 30, thanks to the new Tower 3 truck with a 104-foot ladder. The new truck was on site for the Combined Timed Activity competition between the four fire halls in the Salmon Arm Fire Department. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
After hopping out of their truck during the Combined Timed Activity on Aug. 30 for the four fire halls which make up the Salmon Arm Fire Department, firefighters get the pumps running, hook up the hose and put on their self-contained breathing apparatus. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)After hopping out of their truck during the Combined Timed Activity on Aug. 30 for the four fire halls which make up the Salmon Arm Fire Department, firefighters get the pumps running, hook up the hose and put on their self-contained breathing apparatus. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm firefighters prepare for what looks like a moon landing Aug. 30, thanks to the new 2022 Rosenbauer Commander aerial platform Tower 3 truck, with a 104-foot ladder and the ability to fight fires in seven- or eight-storey buildings. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)Salmon Arm firefighters prepare for what looks like a moon landing Aug. 30, thanks to the new 2022 Rosenbauer Commander aerial platform Tower 3 truck, with a 104-foot ladder and the ability to fight fires in seven- or eight-storey buildings. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)

Salmon Arm’s Hall 3 was victorious in this year’s battle of the fire halls, but by the smallest of margins.

In the early 2000s, a Combined Timed Activity or CTA was begun for the four halls in the city, explains Fire Chief Brad Shirley.

The idea was to have a fun activity where the firefighters could test their skills.

Although the halls train together and are part of one fire department, “they can be a little competitive between each other,” Shirley smiled.

Hall 1 is Canoe, Hall 2, Broadview at the top of the hill, Hall 3, downtown Salmon Arm and Hall 4, Gleneden.

On Tuesday evening, Aug. 30, the four halls, including recruits and junior firefighters, gathered in the parking lot at Westgate Market to try for the coveted bronze firefighter statue.

At the start line, four firefighters from a hall would line up, facing the back of their firetruck where their personal gear had been laid out on the ground. At the sound of the air horn, they’d walk quickly up to the truck, don all their personal protective equipment and hop in.

All the while a judge would be watching to see that everything was done correctly. Seatbelts, for instance, are a must before the firetruck moves. Accountability tags are placed on a board inside the truck.

Then the truck would be driven through a serpentine of cones, with points lost for any cone knocked over.

This reporter, given a test ride in the back seat of the Hall 3 truck, can attest to the need for seatbelts. As the big truck lumbered and lurched around the cones (yet leaving them upright), I was surprised to see how easy it would be to get propelled out of the seat, likely flying unprofessionally into someone else’s personal space.

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After the cones, the truck pulled to the end of the laneway and stopped, and the firefighters jumped out to attend to their varied tasks. If anyone gets out before the parking brake is on, more demerits.

The tasks included making sure the truck wheels are chocked, getting out the self-contained breathing apparatus with two firefighters putting theirs on, getting the pumps running and hooking up the hose. A firefighter then collects the nozzles and hoses, turns on the hose and takes aim at a cone sitting on a bucket nearby, knocking over the cone. Then a firefighter wearing the breathing apparatus comes over, also takes a hose and knocks down a second cone.

At that point the horn blasts. Time stops.

During this last part of the drill, a judge has been watching for such necessities as the truck wheels being chocked properly and the breathing apparatus put on correctly.

Each fire hall runs through the drill three times. The three judges, who have added time onto each hall’s score for anything done incorrectly, then tally the totals. The hall with the fastest time overall wins.

This year, Hall 3 prevailed with the team of Chris Scarborough, Ben Schmidt, Riley Hazelton and Travis Koprowsky. Their time: two minutes, 25 seconds.

Second and third place weren’t far behind. Shirley said Hall 2, Broadview, was second, a mere three seconds behind Hall 3.

“Each hall did an incredible job,” he said proudly.

Also part of the evening’s training but not part of the drill was Salmon Arm’s new 104-foot ladder truck, able to reach about seven storeys high.

Although this reporter, generally open to new adventures, was offered a ride up into the skies with the new truck, I declined the kind offer. The rattled look a few weeks earlier on the face of a public figure who’d just had a ride came to mind. More deterring, though, was the possibility of inadvertently sharing my just-consumed dinner with an unsuspecting firefighter.

Maybe next time.

Read more: Salmon Arm’s Tower 3 fire truck with a 104-foot ladder to arrive at end of month

Read more: Firefighters flock to Salmon Arm for six-day training convention



martha.wickett@saobserver.net
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