Pictured at the Setanta Fire Service Games launch at the Rock of Cashel were: James Halpin, Cahir Fire Station) David Higgins, Cashel Fire Station, Dearan O’Gorman, Nenagh Fire Station
Fire-fighters from Co. Tipperary will battle it out in a test of physical fitness and endurance at the inaugural Setanta Fire Service Games next month. The first of their kind in Ireland, the Games will take place at Thurles Fire Station on Saturday, September 14.
Teams from every fire station in Tipperary will compete in challenges including a fire-engine pull, a ‘hang tough’, tyre-flipping, box-jumping, and timed runs. Many of the activities will be completed wearing full fire-fighting equipment, and the winning team will be awarded the Setanta Cup.
18-Month Wellness Programme
The Setanta Fire Service Games mark the culmination of a wellness programme that has been pioneered by Tipperary Fire Services in partnership with Setanta College, the leading provider of sports courses.
The programme was developed to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of fire-fighters across Co. Tipperary. It has been rolled out over the past 18 months, with 11 fire-fighters completing diplomas in Personal Training, and Strength and Conditioning. The qualified fire-fighters are now designated Wellness Officers in their respective stations, working to roll out wellness programmes for their colleagues on an ongoing basis.
Speaking about the wellness programme, Dave Carroll, Tipperary County Council’s Chief Fire Officer, said: “Fire-fighting is a hugely demanding job, both mentally and physically. The majority of our team are retained fire-fighters, which means they are typically juggling their fire-fighting duties with another full-time job, placing extra demands on their physical and mental wellbeing.
“In recent years, we identified the need to improve the physical wellbeing of our fire-fighters, and Setanta College came on board to develop a bespoke training programme for us. The programme has given our team-members the skills to not only improve their own health and wellbeing, but also to share their knowledge with their colleagues, and to develop a culture of positive physical and mental wellbeing in all fire stations in Tipperary.
“This has been an immensely positive experience for the individual fire-fighters who completed the diploma course, but also for the wider fire-fighting community in Tipperary. Each fire station in the county is now being equipped with a gym, marking our commitment to investing in the wellbeing of our fire-fighters. We believe this is a truly ground-breaking and important programme, with the potential to be replicated by Fire Services nationwide.”
Mr. Carroll said he had suffered a stroke in recent years, and has now regained full physical fitness, thanks to the Setanta College programme.
“Physical wellbeing is important for everyone, no matter what profession you’re in. In recent years, I suffered a stroke and, thanks to the support of my colleagues and our shared focus on wellness, I have been able to improve my own health and fitness to the point where I am now able to compete in the upcoming Setanta Fire Service Games,” he said.
“The Games will be the culmination of almost two years of hard work by our fire-fighters and a chance for them to show what they’ve learned, as well as introducing a bit of healthy competition amongst the fire stations in Tipperary.”
Rock of Cashel Launch
The Setanta Fire Service Games were officially launched at the iconic Rock of Cashel in Co. Tipperary today, Wednesday, August 14.
Also commenting on the Games, Dr. Liam Hennessy, former international athlete and founder of Setanta College, said: “We were delighted to work with Tipperary Fire Services in developing this innovative training programme for fire-fighters. Fire-fighters provide an invaluable service to our communities, and this programme will help them increase their fitness, improve their nutrition, and remain injury-free when responding to a crisis.
“Tipperary County Council has demonstrated real leadership in safeguarding the physical and mental health of its fire-fighters. The upcoming Setanta Fire Service Games will be a fun and memorable way to mark the achievements of those who have participated in the wellness programme – and to demonstrate to emergency services nationwide the importance of cultivating strong physical and mental health amongst their teams.”