Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rules and Procedures for 2012

As is our practice since the 1991 inception of the Firefighter Combat Challenge, the Rules Committee met during the recess and reviewed the prior year’s practices with an eye towards addressing any need for changes in the rules, protocols and procedures.

To spare you the requirement of reading the document from stem to stern, here’s a quick synopsis of the tweaks that we have made.

1. Keiser Force Machine
Although a rare occurrence, sometimes the Competitor looses his grip on the mallet, creating a dangerous condition. Actually, it’s only dangerous if someone is struck by a flying hammer. Subsequently, it will be a disqualification if the hammer travels past the footprint of the Force Machine. This is similar to the hammer being in contact with the Lion mat. Language has been added to address this situation.

2. GNC Categories
A competitor can only win in one Individual Age Category; i.e., membership on a team or a relay is not affected.

3. Retention of Equipment
As written, the rule is already reasonably clear. However, the definition of equipment is expanded to include anything that you have on your person, be it sunglasses or an iPod. If you drop it, it must be picked up prior to advancing to the next task. Parenthetically, for years we produced the ESPN coverage of the Army’s Best Ranger Challenge, a grueling 60-hour non-stop event. One of the Rangers lost his cover (hat). They kicked him out of the competition- a pretty serious consequence as the rule is you could not lose anything. Period. Wow. [Add to the list of Disqualifications]

4. Penalties
We reviewed the penalties for the four days of the Wild Cards and the finals and compared them to last year’s numbers. There did not appear to be any statistically significant differences, with the possible exception of False Starts (jumping the gun) had gone down. We also reviewed the seriousness of the 5 second penalty and agreed that is it appropriate for two reasons. First, it’s easily remediated; i.e., “just don’t do it.” The requirement to stand still for 2 seconds is not an arduous expectation. Unlike Sprint Track Events, the competitor is not disqualified. Secondly, jumping the gun affords a significant, unfair advantage. Since we don’t have gradations of seconds of penalty, the 5 second rule should be a reasonable deterrent. We’ve repeatedly gone over the justification- and the objectivity of the penalty and believe that attempting to game the start is reasonably penalized. There is a subjective component to the start: identifying those who touch the Hi-rise pack before the siren. Our starter will continue to be responsible for this judgement call.

5. Team Defined
The language has been written and a reviewing body created. We’ve been over virtually every combination and permutation in an attempt to be fair and consistent. Because of the widespread nature and composition of how fire departments are configured, exceptions will be vetted by a 7-member committee. Fire Departments in North America range from tiny all-volunteer departments to the ≈13,000 member FDNY. And, we’ve seen both in the competition. The collective size of a department has little to do with the finish order. The intention is to outlaw attempts to go outside of the rules to create a team of Allstars.

6. Registration Fees
No change in the prices for the Regional Competitions will take place in 2012.

7. Lion’s Den Criteria
Women over 40 may be inducted with a time equal to, or less than 3:30.

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