The Cochrane Fire Services team is entering its final week of training for the 9th annual Firefighter Stairclimb in Calgary and has once again been joined by Mayor Jeff Genung and town CAO Mike Derricott.

They've been preparing by climbing the stairs of the fire hall's hose tower, slowly adding more equipment and weight as the training progresses. Come the day of the event, they'll be wearing full modified gear, which adds another 50 to 65 lbs. of weight.

On June 11, they'll be climbing the 1,370 steps to the top of the 58-storey Brookfield Place in downtown Calgary to aid those living with cancer through Wellspring Alberta.

Cochrane firefighters have been participating in the stairclimb fundraiser since it was launched in 2015, The size of the team has varied, but this year it's nine members strong, with Alex Vague serving as team captain.

Mayor Jeff Genung says he's been joining the team for early morning training about twice a week to prepare for the challenge. He joined the local firefighters in the 2019 climb the Calgary's Bow Tower and captured the "Challenge the Chief" helmet by raising $16,000 for Wellspring.

stairclimb 2The team's training in 2019 was both outdoors and at the hose tower of the local fire station.
step climbingTwenty lapses of the fire station's hose tower are the equivalent of doing 80 flights of stairs. (file photo)

Mayor Genung says it's for an important cause and that some Cochrane residents work for Wellspring. It also gives him a better idea of the training required of our local firefighters 

"I'll get to the top of those stairs, and that will be the end for me, but I'm often reminded that when they get to the top of the stairs, that's when their work starts. I'm just seeing a little snapshot of what those individuals go through on a daily or monthly basis to be ready and prepared to take on a fire scenario."

"It's been a few years since the last one, and I've learned that I'm not quite as in shape as I was then, but it's good to get up early and get down to the hall and run the tower with the guys."

The training typically takes place at 6 a.m. and involves doing 20 lapses of the hose tower, which amounts to 80 flights of stairs.

"It started with just runners, t-shirts, and shorts, and we've been slowly adding boots, helmets, and tanks, and it's getting heavier and heavier. I'm looking forward to the top of the stairs on June 11th, I tell you."

Wellspring Alberta provides free programs, services, and support to meet the psychological, emotional, and educational needs of individuals and families living with cancer.

Wellspring Alberta will gift a portion of the proceeds to the Firefighters Assistance Charitable Society, whose mission is to empower and strengthen the firefighter by enhancing the success and resilience of the firefighter community.

You can discover more here.

To donate to members of the Cochrane team, visit here.

More information on the stairclimb can be found here.