Two days of competitions and family fun starts tomorrow afternoon and concludes Saturday

Tomorrow afternoon firefighters from across the nation will climb a five-story tower, pull fire hoses, and save victims all while wearing heavy firefighting gear and going as fast as they can.

Oh, and all of this is going to happen during the mild 90-degree temperatures that are typical on a pre-summer day in Apopka… also it’s set up under a cement parking lot.

Sound pretty challenging? Well, you have to see it to believe it.

Teams of firefighters will converge on Apopka this week for the ultimate challenge of physical agility, speed, and life-saving skills.

The nationally touring Scott Safety Firefighter Combat Challenge will visit Apopka from 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 11th and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 12th at the Sam’s Club, 1500 S. Orange Blossom Trail.

Activities include two days of races as well as a free Kids Firefighter Challenge, fire trucks, displays, music and more.

Firefighters, local law enforcement, and others will compete in individual and team events set across a nearly 200-foot-long race course that includes climbing a five-story tower, hoisting, chopping, dragging hoses and rescuing a life-sized, 175 lb., “victim” while wearing 70 pounds of firefighting bunker gear.

Participants race against an opponent and the clock, simulating the rigorous physical demands of real-life firefighting. The Challenge encourages a lifelong commitment to physical fitness, health, and wellness – all in support of public safety. Winners will qualify for a chance to compete against first responders from around the world at the World Firefighter Combat Challenge Oct. 22-27 in Sacramento, Calif.

Many competitors train all year and race in numerous states with a single focus to mark the fastest time on this grueling course. Apopka’s event will include first responders from across Central Florida for what is called the toughest two minutes in sports. Local law enforcement SWAT teams also are invited to challenge the course.

“The City of Apopka and Apopka firefighters are honored to host the Scott Safety Firefighter Combat Challenge for the second year,” said Apopka Fire Chief Chuck Carnesale. “We invite firefighters to join us for the competition, and we invite the community to come out and cheer them on.”

The Kids Firefighter Challenge is a scaled-down version of the combat challenge with full-size fun. Each child carries a shoulder load of hose, climbs to the top of our 12-foot inflatable tower, slides to the bottom, where they “stop, drop and roll.”

Then they crawl through a tunnel, work the miniature Keiser sled with the supplied mallet, advance a simulated wildland fire line with authentic nozzle striking a target and finally “make the rescue” with an appropriately sized mannequin.

Spectator admission to the Scott Safety Firefighter Combat Challenge is free. Enjoy health and fire safety displays, music and food. For more information, visit www.apopkachallenge.com.

The Apopka event is presented through generous support from Sam’s Club, Qorvo, Dan Newlin & Partners, Waste Management, Columbia Southern University, Coca-Cola, MES, Orlando Medical Institute, Victory Church, Fastsigns, Rosenbauer, RevTech, Grace Pointe Church, Jeunesse, Magruder Eye Institute, United Site Services, Apopka Plaque and Trophy, Florida Hospital, CAE Healthcare, Mullinax Ford, Paddy’s Pub, Marcos Pizza, Something Fishy, the City of Apopka, the Armando Borjas Scholarship and Bichler, Oliver, Longo & Fox PLLC.

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