North Carolina Department Hosts Annual Training Competition

April 28, 2016

The Warren County (NC) Junior Firefighters/Fire Explorer Post 672 is gearing up for the Warren County Junior Firefighter Competition this Saturday, April 30. This will be the sixth year that the group has brought together dozens of competitors from multiple states for a hands-on training day.

At least 14 teams are expected to compete this year, including teams from 10 different counties in NC, as well as from departments in TN, WV, and TX. Three teams are first-time attendees, including the Hedgesville (WV) 4-H Junior Volunteer Fire Company, who heard about the Competition while attending the National Volunteer Fire Council’s National Junior Firefighter Academy in November in Monroe, NC. After Academy events, many of the junior firefighters (and adults) have kept in contact via social media and occasionally see each other at other junior firefighter training events.

Warren Co Jr FFThough Saturday’s competition is the main event, the Warren County juniors also encourage all teams to attend the Friday Evening Dinner & Social, held at the Warrenton Rural Volunteer Fire Department. The Social is a casual get-together for competitors, advisors, and parents to meet outside of the competition arena. It is also an opportunity for the adults to converse, network, and discuss issues pertaining to junior firefighters.

The Social starts with an “icebreaker” and “meet and greet” for the juniors to introduce themselves, get to know each other, and make new friends. Door prizes are provided by local businesses, event sponsors, and other supporters of the Competition. The Social features a complimentary dinner for all registered guests, which is catered by a local restaurant. Following dinner is music, dancing, games, and fun. The Social shuts down early so everyone can be well-rested for the Competition.

Saturday’s Competition starts off with an opening ceremony featuring an Honor Guard presenting the colors and the singing of the National Anthem, an invocation, opening remarks, and a brief speech given this year by keynote speaker Battalion Chief John Alstonof the Jersey City (NJ) Fire Department. Highlights of the agenda are:

Duke Life Flight
Duke Life Flight
  • several vendors including food vendors available for breakfast and lunch service,
  • Duke Life Flight helicopter making an appearance at lunchtime,
  • demonstration of the Max Fire Box fire behavior training,
  • an appearance of the Chick-Fil-A Fire Chief Cow, and
  • static displays of fire apparatus including a 1974 Baker Aerial.

The Competition is composed of five field events and three knowledge-based events, with 1-2 new events each year. This year’s events are:

  1. Quick Dressing Event (Individual & Team times) – 4-person team runs 50’, dons PPE & SCBA, then fast-walks another 50’ to the finish line. Timed event.
  2. Stretcher Bearer Event – While carrying a Stokes basket, a 4-person team must negotiate obstacles, place the patient in the basket, and then return through the obstacles to the start/finish line. Timed event.
  3. Wye So Tight? Event – While carrying equipment, a 4-person team must crawl through a tunnel, and then connect a gated wye, couple hoses together, attach the nozzle, and finally open the hydrant and hit a target with the waterstream. Timed event.
  4. Firefighter Relay Event – Each person of a 4-person relay team must complete a leg of the race. The legs are: (1) obstacle course; (2) ladder carry/ladder raise; (3) victim rescue/drag; and (4) hose advance & attack. Timed event.
  5. Water Tug-O-War Event – 4-person team must push a barrel with a waterstream past their opposing team’s line. Single-elimination bracket.
Event Water Tug-O-War
Water Tug-O-War 

The afternoon ends with the knowledge-based events:

  1. Written Testing – Tests are multiple choice and approximately 150 questions. Questions are at the basic firefighter level and administered by Vance-Granville (NC) Community College.
  2. Verbal Testing – Participants must identify commonly used firefighting equipment and tools on a fire apparatus, then discuss its function, purpose, and use.
  3. Crazy 8s Event – Participants must tie four specified knots in two minutes based on the Figure-8 series of knots. Timed event.

First, second, and third place trophies are awarded for each event. Additionally, the following trophies will also be presented:

  • Best Team In Field Events and Best Team In Knowledge Events Awards – These awards are based on the highest sum of points for those respective events.
  • Team Farthest Traveled Award – Distance is calculated via Google Maps.
  • Better Luck Next Year Award – Presented to the team with the lowest sum of points.
  • The Christopher W. Pegram Good Sportsmanship Award – The field judges vote based on a team’s positive attitude, sense of fair play, respect for others, and laudable behavior. Chris Pegram is an Assistant Chief with Macon Rural Volunteer Fire Department and a Captain/Paramedic with Warren County EMS. He was a key player in the formation of Fire Explorer Post 672 and served as the Post’s first Chief Advisor.
  • The Walter M. Gardner, Jr. Best All-Around Team Award – The team with the most points at the end of the day will be awarded the Best All-Around Team trophy. Walter Gardner is the Mayor of Warrenton and the Fire Chief of Warrenton Rural Volunteer Fire Department. He was the driving force behind the formation of Fire Explorer Post 672 and continues to be a strong supporter of the program.
  • Team Participation Plaque – Each registered team will be presented with this award in appreciation of their attendance.

Find out more about the Warren County Junior Firefighters/Explorer Post 672 and the Competition. For additional information, call 252-820-0513 or email View a listing of other junior firefighter camps, academies, and competitions across the country. For ideas on training activities you can host at your department, visit