24 October 2018
Four New Zealand Army emergency responders are in Sacramento competing in the 3M Scott Firefighter Combat World Challenge XXVII as part of the New Zealand team, after strong performances in New Zealand regional and national competitions.
All four emergency responders are part of 2nd Royal New Zealand Engineer Regiment and are usually based either at Linton or Waiouru military camps.
The four, Sapper Petra Dye-Hutchinson, Corporal Tom Grant, Sapper Aidan Grant and Sergeant Daniel Klaasen, will all compete individually and Corporal Grant will also represent New Zealand in the relay team.
Sergeant Klaassen, the organiser of the team, said he was extremely proud of the other three members of the team.
“They are at the top of their game. They exemplify their trade and they will be great ambassadors for the New Zealand Army,” he said.
They will need every ounce of their ability, because they will be competing against people with many more years of competition experience than they have.
“A lot of the other competitors have been doing this for many years – our team much less, but they are in the top 10 per cent of New Zealand,” Sergeant Klaassen said.
Being able to show the world the level of professionalism and skill of New Zealand Army emergency responders was a great privilege, he said.
“As an emergency responder you need to have multiple skills. This is our opportunity to show how we work as firefighters.”
Sapper Dye-Hutchinson is about to be awarded the Lion’s Den jacket for competitive firefighters who have passed a number of extreme fitness and skill challenges within a specific time and Corporal Grant is expected to reach soon the level required to join this elite international club.
Just one per cent of the firefighter population reach this pinnacle.
Sapper Dye-Hutchinson has been training for more than three hours a day to ensure she is in peak physical condition for the competition.
“A lot of it has been about technique because that can knock at least a couple of seconds off your time if you get it right,” she said.