It has been a busy couple of weeks for the Revelstoke Fire Rescue and their volunteering and fundraising efforts. From Climb the Wall to the annual Boot Drive, Revelstoke Fire Rescue is raising funds for those in need.
Last weekend, five Revelstoke firefighters headed down to Vancouver to take part in the Stair Climb for Clean Air challenge.
Celebrating its 18th year, the event is organized by the BC Lung Association and raises funds and awareness for lung disease. “A community of lung heroes are making a difference for the one in five British Columbians affected by lung disease,” says the group’s website.
Civilians, pro athletes, and firefighters all get involved. Participants partake in a 48-storey stair climb to the top of the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel.
This year 146 firefighters took part. Revelstoke Volunteer Firefighter Glenn McTaggart participated for the first time.
“It was a fantastic experience,” he says. “It was great to be part of the huge firefighter family. I hope to go again next year and get a better time.”
McTaggart climbed the required flights of stairs in 11 minutes and 45 seconds while in full firefighter gear, which weighs about 70 pounds. Though full gear is heavy, McTaggart notes it is far easier to carry the weight on your back than in your hands. “It’s hard, but it is easier to wear the weight than carry. But by the 35th floor you’re feeling the weight.” Every firefighter certified to use the Self Contained Breathing Apparatus does so.
“When you’re on air, it is a slightly shorter breath,” explains McTaggart. “You breathe in and have to wait for the regulator to give you air. It can feel a little claustrophobic.”
Though it adds another level of difficulty, McTaggart stresses its importance. “Training while using air and adapting your lungs makes you a better firefighter for the community in the event you ever need to respond to an emergency where using air is necessary. You get so used to it that it feels weird without it.”
McTaggart’s time won him 1st place in the firefighter 50-59 years old category. “We’ve been training since September,” he says. “We climb up and down the tower at the station ten times, which is 50 stories.”
Every Revelstoke volunteer firefighter represented impressively well. The top time from the department was set by Brent Johnson, who finished in 11 minutes. David Pearson finished in 11 minutes 21 second, Leslie Blaszk finished in 11 minutes and 43 seconds, and Jeremy Murray in 11 minutes and 45 seconds.
Locally, Revelstoke Fire Rescue held their annual Boot Drive on Family Day. Firefighters take to the road on the way to Revelstoke Mountain Resort and collect change in a firefighter’s boot from passing drivers. The final numbers from this year’s event $4,095.00, which will be donated to Muscular Dystrophy Canada and the BC Burn Fund.