Great Falls firefighters set to compete in stair climb challenge

Great Falls firefighters set to compete in stair climb challenge
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Posted at 7:16 PM, Mar 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-12 20:59:11-04

GREAT FALLS — Thirty-two years ago, two firefighters created the LLS Firefighter Stair Climb. LLS, which stands for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, has since been inviting thousands of firefighters from around the world to partake in the event.

The climb takes place at the Columbia Center in Seattle, and all proceeds go to support patients with blood cancer.

On Sunday, March 12th, eight members of the Great Falls Fire Rescue team will compete in the event, climbing 69 floors - 1,356 steps to be exact.

Great Falls firefighters set to compete in stair climb challenge

“It’s super cool to do. It's kind of a competition and we get to raise money for an awesome cause. So I think that's that's pretty much the reason why I go,” says firefighter Chase Perry.

The stair climb is the world’s largest on-air ascension. ‘On-air’ in firefighter speak refers to the SCBA masks which are worn during fires to combat smoke inhalation. On top of a mask, the firefighters must wear all their turnout equipment during the climb.

“Everything we'd wear that we'd go into a fire with is what we wear. So we're wearing our turnout coat, pants, boots, gloves, helmet, our mask, and then our SCBA pack. And all that weighs about probably 50 pounds,” says Perry.

A number of the GFFR team have already competed in the event but look forward to it every year for a great cause and great company. For many of them, it’s personal.

“Personally, I have an uncle that passed away from cancer. So this is this is going to hit home for me,” says Josh Oatman.

Chris Lee, another GFFR teammate, noted, “I’ve had family members affected by cancer and internally in the fire department here locally, we've had members affected by cancer as well. So I think it's important to climb for that reason and raise money for funding.”

If you would like to donate, or for more information, click here.

Questions or comments about this article/video? Click here to contact Owen.


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