Members of Wednesbury Young Firefighters Association are set to head off to Poland to represent the UK in the 2015 CTIF (International Technical Committee for the Prevention and Extinction of Fire) competition.
They will be among hundreds of competitors in Opole, where their fire and rescue drills and skills will be put to the test in front of thousands gathered in the city’s stadium for the international event.
The group of ten won the honour of competing on behalf of the UK after winning a qualifying event organised by the Fire Service Youth Training Association. A team from Manchester came second and will also be travelling to Poland.
Together with supporters from Wednesbury and Aldridge YFAs, and volunteer instructors, the team will fly to Poland on Sunday 19 July, returning the following Sunday. They will stay in local university accommodation, while their supporters will have hotel rooms – paid for by months of fundraising, which has also benefited the national Fire Fighters Charity. West Midlands Fire Service has helped to cover the competitors’ costs and provided some of the transport.
As well as taking part in the opening ceremony, the group will spend their week training for their obstacle and relay challenges, watching the other competitors and enjoying local sightseeing trips.
Crew Commander Paul Ratcliffe of Oldbury community fire station, the officer in charge of Wednesbury YFA, said: “Once again our Young Firefighters have the honour representing the whole of the UK, and they’re getting a massive buzz from it. They’ve put loads of effort into fundraising for the trip, and they’re all extremely proud to be taking part.
“The event is the pinnacle of what they do each week at the YFA. It’s all about teamwork, and working hard to get their practical, fire-fighting skills to the highest possible level.”
Dave Ward, Community Risk Reduction Officer – Youth Lead, with WMFS Black Country South Command, added: “It is great to see the hard work, training and dedication of the Wednesbury YFA members and its officers being recognised in this way.
“It provides an opportunity for them to meet and compete with young people from across Europe whilst representing their YFA branch and West Midlands Fire Service. The most important aspect of this is for the young people to enjoy and learn from the experience and have fun.”
The group will be posting updates throughout their trip on Facebook and Twitter (WednesburyYFA on both).
For more information, go to www.wmfs.net