Friday, February 22, 2013

1,300 steps for $5,000

Firefighters to do stair climb for cancer research

Express Staff Writer

Wood River Fire & Rescue Assistant Chief Jeff Nevins will participate in the Scott Firefighter Stair Climb in Seattle. Photo by Mountain Express

Next month, five Wood River Fire & Rescue members will charge up 1,311 steps equaling 788 feet of vertical elevation while wearing breathing apparatuses and full protective gear weighing about 45 pounds—all in the name of raising money for cancer research.

Wood River Fire & Rescue Assistant Chief Jeff Nevins said that he, fellow full-time firefighter Justin Herald and volunteers Rune Haavik, Melinda Milner and Zack Fleming will travel to Seattle on Sunday, March 10, to climb the stairs of the Columbia Center tower. 

Last year, 1,550 total firefighters made the climb, raising $1.2 million in pledges for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. 

Nevins said his department raised more than $5,000 last year, and has raised more than $3,000 toward this year’s goal already.

The event involves firefighters in full PPE (personal protection equipment) and SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus), an assembly of equipment that is not only cumbersome, but heavy.

“It’s the whole ensemble—boots, pants, coat, helmet and the air pack we wear,” Nevins said.

Though breathing is not restricted when using the SCBA, Nevins said the air supply is finite. 

“Some of us try to do it all on one cylinder,” he said. “That’s what we’re doing this year.”

Last year, he attempted to make the entire climb using an air cylinder that is meant to last 45 minutes—however, he said he ran out of air partway through because the exertion caused him to breathe more heavily. 

This year, he’ll use a tank meant to last 60 minutes, though he expects to make the climb in slightly over 20. 

“I’m hoping to not have to change it out this year,” he said.

Members of Wood River Fire & Rescue have been drumming up support for the effort across the valley, even setting up stairclimber fitness machines at local grocery stores and taking donations. Nevins said they collected $505 at Atkinsons’ Market in Hailey last week.

5B CrossFit in Hailey will also host a fundraiser for the department, on Friday, Feb. 22, from 5-8 p.m. at the facility on Main Street in Hailey. 

The free event will include a CrossFit workout and a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses. Attendees can show their support by joining the five firefighters in a workout designed to train them for the climb, or by making donations or participating in the raffle. Those wishing to donate can visit or and click on “Scott Firefighter Stair Climb.”

Kate Wutz:




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