The third stage is a true test of strength, demanding contenders to carry equipment up a three-storey tower, followed by a 20kg weight hoist to the top — a feat that showcases the raw power and endurance that firefighters possess. Finally, the fourth test beckons, a gruelling 800m run over sand and rough terrain to end off the challenge. Team Drakenstein did not disappoint and delivered a fiery performance – a testament to their unwavering commitment and passion for their calling. • Mandolene Andrews: Distinguished herself with an extraordinary 2nd place in the 45-49 age category; • Aden Coert: Showed resilience by achieving the 11th position in the 45-49 age category; • Jaco Stander: Secured an impressive 6th place in the 40-44 age category; • Doniel Fortuin: Impressed all with a stellar 9th place finish in the 35-39 age category; • Eugene Williams: Demonstrated determination, gaining the 12th position in the 35-39 age category; • Ernest Horn: Exhibited perseverance, securing the 21st position in the 30-34 age category; • Niel Adriaanse: Stood tall and strong, seizing 7th place in the 18-29 age category; and • Cyprian Ayslie: Showcased prowess, securing the 17th place in the 18-29 age category. Looking ahead, preparations for next year’s competition are already in full swing. In the 2024 calendar, Drakenstein Municipality’s Fire and Rescue Services will participate in several challenges, among others, the International Firefighters Day , Dräger SA Fire Combat & Rescue Challenge , and of course, the 2024 Toughest Firefighter Alive Challenge.

From left to right: Mandolene Andrews and Aden Coert.

The team spirit of all the contestants was extraordinary, and Team Drakenstein conducted themselves with the utmost professionalism, despite less-than-ideal weather conditions over the weekend of 5 to 7 October 2023. “A special thanks go to Drakenstein Municipality’s management for their support and also to the firefighters who covered our shifts while we participated in the contest.” Jaco says the TFA contest is a race against the clock, pushing firefighters to conquer four demanding tasks in the shortest time possible while wearing full structural fire gear and a 16kg breathing apparatus. Stage 1 sets the tone, requiring competitors to swiftly drag two 90m firehoses and make up two 30m lengths of firehoses — a task critical in the world of firefighting. Stage 2 presents a challenging obstacle course, testing the firefighters’ agility and speed and simulating the unpredictability they might face in the line of duty, ending with a 3m-high wall climb.

It’s all in a day’s work for Team Drakenstein!

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