With the awards ceremony in Seattle on Sunday night came the announcements of the Scott Firefighter Stair Climb totals for 2015 and the recognition for all that were involved with the event. Unfortunately due to logistical issues and cost I was unable to attend the awards this year. As much as I wanted to, I had additional events, which I added in that I need to fly to over the coming months.
I am VERY proud to be a part of the VIP fundraisers having achieved a goal of $2560 and our organization and Brotherhood reaching a total of $2.2 million! What an event, what a great way to keep working toward finding cures and making a difference in the lives of others. An exciting total that I am also proud of is that in the last nine years I have raised over $17,000 for the L&LS, something that I thought maybe impossible.
I started this journey back in 2005, technically November 17, 2004 the day that I walked into the local YMCA to change my life and get body in shape. I never EVER thought that it would go this far and how much it would change others AND myself. This is contagious; it has changed my life, and is inspirational to me. It was the inspiration to others that has significantly impacted my life that I wasn’t ready for. When you talk to honorees, survivors, their families and you can relate to what is being done for them. When I get emails, text messages, phone calls, and people stopping me at events saying that I inspired them to do more, I made them not give up, and I made a difference in their life. Those words from those fighting and those competing are a huge part of how I fuel my mind for these events. Climbs, runs, and competing is not just about calories, hydration, miles, steps, reps, and physical things, but mental game as well.
I am already looking forward to 2016 and the 25th annual Scott Firefighter Stair Climb and how to pull it off. Fundraising, logistics, training, and much more are already scribbled on paper.
Coming up with the title of this post was pretty easy today coming back from FDIC and the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb. The title came from two of my sons favorite books right now which are rather hilarious, but the topic today leaves me more fired up than anything. Maybe a pet peeve of mine, clean fire gear especially when it comes to the ill affects in relation to cancer in firefighters, not to mention everything else.
Am I perfect, nope, I’m not and not asking for perfection either, but there are good faith efforts that need to happen. I have a personal set of backup gear that I can rotate in place of my frontline set. If mine has been washed off and gross decon done, I am letting mine set so that my brother without a backup set can get his or hers into the wash.
When was the last time you washed your gear? No I don’t mean hosed it down, I mean disassembled and washed your gear per the manufacturer suggestions. Now I realize that some had just gotten off shift and others had been participating in H.O.T. sessions this week, but a few just had me concerned about are we REALLY getting to our firefighters with this life saving message? Now before you take my message the wrong way, I’m not going to trash anyone here, but really want to get across the importance of cleaning our gear. Chunks…chunks of debris should not be falling off our PPE. I understand that not all the smell of smoke is going to come out of the gear, but it shouldn’t be that way because of visible contaminants.
This is only my short list, but definitely these are HUGE steps to making a difference in your firehouse today. I can’t take credit for these and won’t try to, these are tips that have been out there for years, people just aren’t reiterating them as much as need be. You don’t need to be a chief to suggest these, just speak up and DTRT.
- Decon begins at the scene, it has to. Leave that last line off the truck for some cleanup before you get in the truck. Gear, packs, tools, etc.
- Wipe down your face and importantly your neck with wet wipes, yes I mean those wipes you use on your kid. Get those carcinogens off!
- When you get back to station, don’t traipse about the firehouse with your gear in the living section, the office section, etc., keep it in the bay. Get your trucks back in order, spray them out, and then get your gear off.
- A clean looking truck on the outside shows that you have some great company pride and want to make the truck last. A clean inside of the truck shows that you want you want your company to outlast your truck.
- HOODS! Have a backup hood. When you get back from a job collect everyones hoods and as a crew get them all washed appropriately.
- Get the gear to the washer! Somebody be first, step up and let that person be you. Find out who is next, communicate with your crews and do each other a favor with swapping stuff in and out of the washer and the gear dryer. Do your brother a favor and don’t just throw his stuff in a pile, hang it in the dryer. Be the example and hopefully others will follow.
Just some thoughts to think of and maybe look at introducing to your house.