The SLFD began preparing for the competition back in June, by hosting practices twice a week in addition to their regular Tuesday training night. The Alta Fire Department also participated in the voluntary practices, which provided friendly competition for both departments while honing the required skills for the State competition. Additionally, both Departments attended several local waterfighting competitions this summer and worked together to bring home several trophies in the area events. This dedication paid off as both Alta and Storm Lake had strong showings at the State Competition.
The IFA Convention competition held on Sept. 12 consisted of firefighters utilizing fireground training skills to compete in nine separate drills. Seven of the drills are scored on speed and accuracy, and two of the drills are single elimination events. The top four teams in each event are awarded a trophy and points towards the overall team standings.
This year, the SLFD brought home trophies in two of the timed competition drills. The team of Adam Kutz and Josh Fevold earned a 4th place finish in the Two Man Coupling Drill with a time of 8.34 seconds. In this drill, both firefighters run 50 feet with a nozzle, break a hose coupling, and connect the nozzle. Their strong finish earned points toward the overall team standings.
The Hitching Post Drill requires a firefighter to start the event by hitting a remote stopwatch and tie three knots - a bowline knot around a post, a clove hitch around a post, and a figure eight loop knot. Storm Lake Firefighter Tom Grafft had the fastest time in the State this year by tying his knots in 7.594 seconds, which earned a first place trophy and additional points towards the team rankings.
Additionally, Storm Lake placed in the top ten in several other events, just out of reach of earning additional trophies, but more importantly, points. However, Storm Lake earned enough team points to finish the State IFA Competition in 5th place overall in the team rankings for 2009. Perennial leader State Center was the overall drill champion followed closely by Chariton, Russell, and Parkersburg respectively.
The SLFD finished the Convention by pulling the Department's very first fire apparatus, an 1880 hand drawn hose cart, in the annual parade. The hose cart was hand drawn by a full 12 man Company in full dress uniform the entire length of the 2 mile parade route. The Company performed several figure-eight drills with the cart which drew standing ovations and accolades from the crowds. The Department also entered their antique 1939 American LaFrance fire truck in the parade which also drew numerous compliments from the crowd.
The Storm Lake Fire Department extends its gratitude to retired SLFD firefighter Dennis Kessler for hauling the antique fire apparatus to and from Dyersville for the parade, the Alta Fire Department for the tremendous training opportunities and camaraderie, and the community of Storm Lake for the continuous support given to the Department. The SLFD is looking forward to representing The City Beautiful at the 2010 IFA Convention to be held in Perry next September.