Gov. Deal to honor Clayton firefighters

Gov. Nathan Deal will honor the world champion Clayton County Fire and Emergency Services relay teams Feb. 21, with a proclamation recognizing their achievements.

The "open" and "over 40" teams took the titles after competing in the annual Firefighters Combat Challenge, held in November at Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The Clayton firefighters competed against 600 others from eight different countries.

Battalion Chief Jacque Feilke said the department now boasts eight world championship titles.

Feilke said the Open Relay Team has a record of 56-6, from 2007, to 2011, and holds the world record time of 1:07.74. Team members include: Lt. James Barbee, Sgts. Lawrence Adams and Daniel Hardegree, and firefighters, Michael Ballisty and Brad Bailey.

The Over 40 team holds five world championships, and the world record time of 1:17.32. Team members include: Chief Jeff Hood, Battalion Chief Jay Fordham, Lts. Ernest Donaldson and Billy Rice, and firefighter, Frank Bryson.

The Firefighter Challenge Competition is designed to encourage firefighter fitness, and demonstrate the profession's rigors to the public. Wearing full bunker gear and a Scott Air-Pak breathing apparatus, pairs of competitors race head-to-head as they simulate the physical demands of real-life firefighting, by performing a linked series of five tasks, which include climbing a five-story tower, hoisting, chopping, dragging hoses, and rescuing a life-sized, 175-pound "victim" as they race against their opponent and the clock.