Has won 7 of the last 8 Firefighter Olympic championships
by Heather Tomlinson Commonwealth Journal
It appears that Parkers Mill Fire Department’s winning streak is still going strong.
Members from the fire department brought home its seventh title in eight years — more than any other department in the state — from this year’s Kentucky State Firefighter Olympics, held on Aug. 3 in Ashland.
“In the last 15 years, the trophy left the county one time,” said Tiger Robinson, local public safety director and chairman of the state Fire Commission and chief organizer of the Firefighter Olympics. “They’re team-oriented. The skills we do in that (the Firefighter Olympics) are used in fighting fire every day.”
The Parkers Mill squad has secured a first-place title every year since 2010 and between 2006 and 2008. Southgate Fire Department, out of Campbell County, won the title in 2009.
“They set their mind to it and they did it,” said Keith Price, assistant chief of Parkers Mill, on Saturday. “They want a (fifth win), and I bet they get it. It just shows their dedication to their department, the county and each other, as well as their fire training
“(I) couldn’t be any more proud of these guys,” added Price. “We lost a couple from last year, two new ones stepped in, and when you train together, you win together.”
Fire departments with Ashland and Southgate took second and third places, respectively, in the adult division.
Pulaski County has traditionally performed well in the event, which tests the proficiency of firefighters at an assortment of basic physical and mental skills that are necessary in the course of the very dangerous and demanding job they perform.
In fact, Faubush’s fire department previously held the record for most Firefighter Olympics won with five. Robinson pointed out that the trophy has rotated among the Nancy and Somerset fire departments as well.
And Ferguson Fire Department’s junior firefighting squad came through with a second-place title while competing in the junior division this year.
“We’re trying to pass it on down the line,” said Robinson, about the strong skills and teamwork needed to succeed in firefighting.
Competitors this year competed in trials that tested coordination, skills, quickness, and teamwork, such as a five-man ladder rescue — a timed event, where the team has to carry a ladder, prop it up, rescue a mannequin from a burning building scenario, then get the mannequin back down the ladder and across the finish line in time — and a “barrel fill,” where two team members must unroll a hose and fill a barrel with water in the best time.
The firefighters do it for a love of competition — there is no monetary reward, just bragging rights and a traveling trophy on which the winning chief’s name is inscribed each year, similar to the Stanley Cup of the Firefighter Olympics.
They also spend time training for the competition, about two or three days a week typically, although the skills needed dovetail nicely with the training for their regular job.
“It all kind of goes hand-in-hand,” said Price after last year’s win. “We have scaffolding set up at out fire department, but their other firefighter training comes into play — putting hoses together, ladders, rescue training.
Price said this year’s team also featured two females, Rachael Robbins and K-Anna Lewandowski. Lewandowski serves on the fire department with husband Michael Lewandowski.
The firefighters already have their sights set on next year’s title.
“Last year I said we were going for that fourth in a row, and we did,” said Price. “The guys already made up their minds, and they want a five-peat.”