Meet a world class firefighter...

By Myra Ross - Tuesday, October 21 2014

Photo by Emanuel Lapointe shows Jalene Cartwright competing in the National FireFit competition in Quebec in September.

Meet Jalene Cartwright.

She’s pumped.

At noon today, she will leave for Edmonton in preparation for the World Firefighter Challenge at the Firefighter Combat Challenge in Phoenix, AZ.

A 1st Class Firefighter with the Fort McMurray Fire Department, Jalene received recognition in a TSN broadcast at the September National FireFit competition in Quebec from two of Canada’s top-ranked female FireFit competitors when they described Jalene as ‘the future of the sport’.

In fact, the two women, Amber Bowman from Central York, ON, and Carla Penman from the District of North Vancouver, B.C. (who placed first and second at Nationals) asked Jalene to tandem

with them in a relay race at the 2014 World competition between Nov. 3 and Nov. 9.

Jalene is spending a week in Edmonton before heading for Phoenix in order to train and practice on Edmonton fire department tower, which is of the same scale as the tower -- 40-foot, six flights, 60 steps-tower --  used in the FireFit and World competitions.

“They (Edmonton) open it up for other department firefighters, in order to train.” Jalene says during a brief chat at Firehall #1 on Oct. 20.

“You just have to be with an Edmonton firefighter when you use it.”

Jalene has often driven to Edmonton over the past few months in order to train on the ‘official’ grand-daddy of them all tower. 

She works a four day on, four day off schedule as a Fort McMurray firefighter and whenever she gets an opportunity, she travels to Edmonton to train.

“How much more can I improve,?” is the question she asks herself each day and each week, she explains,  and it’s the motivation to discover her personal best that keeps her focused.

Participating in FireFit competitions requires a fair measure of personal sacrifice, not only in terms of the physical challenges of ongoing training (such as dragging a 160-pound ‘dummy’

up Abasand Hill during a training session), and the time commitment, but also, the firefighter competitors are responsible for their own travel, accommodation and registration costs.

But for the 2014 Worlds, thanks to Abra Hale, a fellow FireFit competitor on the Fort McMurray team, Jalene’s return ticket, rental car and registration costs are covered.

On Sept. 28, as a surprise, Abra opened a GoFundMe account named ‘Send a local firefighter to Worlds’ and  in only 22 days, thanks to the generosity of 22 fans, $2,015 was raised on Jalene’s behalf.

To show your support for Jalene when she’s competing in Phoenix, you can go to the Fort McMurray FireFit page at and cheer her on!


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