Browsed by
Month: January 2016

Gun Raffle fundraiser

Gun Raffle fundraiser

Gun Raffle 2016I’m working hard to hit my fundraising goals for the  Scott Firefighter Stair Climb, which benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  In order to knock this one out of the park I have decided to conduct a gun raffle.  Tickets are $10 each with only 300 tickets being sold!  The drawing will be held on February 26, 2016 OR beforehand if the tickets sellout.  The first winning ticket will have the choice between the firearms, the second winning ticket will receive the remaining firearm.

The two that were chosen to be in the raffle are pretty sought after right now and very popular.  Your ticket gets you in the running for a Glock 43 – 9mm handgun or the Smith & Wesson MP 15 Sport II Rifle.

All Federal and State firearms laws, paperwork, and background check do apply.  If the winner is unable to pass the background check, they will forfeit the prize and a new name be drawn.  

Out of state winners will have to arrange for shipping and transfer to the FFL dealer of their choice at their expense.

A huge thank you to Brunskill Armory in Mount Vernon for working with me on this project to help raise funds for my 2016 Scott Firefighter Stair Climb goal.

For more information call/text: Jason Bostic at 740-627-1664 or email at

Time is ticking, commit to making the change

Time is ticking, commit to making the change

So the New Year is here. 2016 is here to stay for a while, and 2015 can be written off. We can remember and reminisce about all the good things that came from the year, and we can remember all of the lessons learned from the negatives. Today is a new day and we cannot change the past, but there is a full year ahead where you can make a difference, make changes, and go somewhere.

There are a couple questions that I field throughout the year by email, messages, and in person at events. How do I do what I did? How can I make the changes, transform into a healthier lifestyle, and change my life?

I know I have a few brothers that I personally know and a few other friends that are struggling with this battle so I’ll start the year out with a difficult topic. It applies to many in our calling and the number who needs the help isn’t getting smaller. The topic is firefighter health and fitness, but really it can apply to anyone reading my blog because the concepts apply. With that said, please don’t take what is being said incorrectly or that I value anyone any differently. Instead take it as a concern for you, your family, your fire family, and those that you may be serving.

Why am I so devout to firefighter fitness you ask? I am passionate about the cause because I was there, maybe not to the same extent as some because we all face different issues. I was the unfit firefighter sucking down PSI of air, I was the worn out, overweight, borderline in many areas that was headed down the road where many of our brother firefighters have. I was 235 and a 42” waist, I looked like “Winnie the Pooh” in my fire gear and I finally had to make the decision to change my life.

Looking around I am deeply concerned and worried about a growing number of our own that are in the same place that I once was. I don’t have to look far to wonder whats happening because in traveling to training, workshops, expos, conventions, and events around the United States I can see it.

Sadly when I first started writing this article I found myself getting an #LODD notification of a brother in Michigan who died during a training exercise. While it will be some time before the full report will be out, they have listed the cause as stress/overexertion. This cause and his nature of death sadly are happening all too often in the fire service and are a leading cause that is not being addressed. I have given up on there being a “good, safe, or appropriate” time to discuss that which is killing us, because that time is now. In fact, the more that I sit here with my thoughts about firefighter fitness the more frustrated and concerned I am for our brotherhood. Here’s another article that hits close to home with a firefighter in the county to the east being transported with cardiac conditions. As I continued to work on this piece I heard of other close calls, and then today I heard of an Illinois FF/Medic that suffered cardiac arrest after his shift. Unfortunately it is not a matter of IF another of our own will be lost to stress/overexertion, but a matter of WHEN. Brothers and sisters, the statistics are out there and they speak volumes. There is NO better time than today to start making the changes in your life, because you matter!

Disclaimer here… Before beginning any new health regimen, make sure to seek professional medical advice and make sure you are fit for exercise. Take the information in the “take note” section below with you and perhaps your doctor may have further advice. If you are going for a physical or yearly bloodwork, make sure to record these numbers with the where you started section.

Take note, take steps to making a plan

First of all, gather a few things for memory sake. Snap some pictures of you today or some someone do it for you in decent light, if there’s one thing that I wish I had a few more of, it would be photos at the beginning. Take these, as you see changes take more photos, maybe its monthly. I am goal oriented and when I had a setback or needed to know why I was working hard I look back at where I was.

Hop on the scale, you need to know where you started. If you have a scale that figures your BMI and muscle percentages that’s even better, record that data too. How you weigh yourself is up to personal preference, but I prefer not to be weighing my shoes and don’t want a deceptive number. I chose to weigh daily in the morning first thing, stick to it.

They say you are what you eat, but sometimes when we are starting out we have selective memory and forget about that extra helping of potatoes or that late night slice of pizza when you get back from a run. Write it down. You don’t need to have an expensive logbook to do this, just a tablet and something to write with. Record what you are eating, everything, when, and maybe even the portion size. Record also your drinking habits and can or bottle sizes. This is not an area to cheat yourself in, if you want to make change you need to lay it all out there to be seen. Chances are you might shock yourself and you may have your own AHA moment.

As I said in the disclaimer above, take this information and talk to your family doctor and see what they feel is an appropriate level of exercise and two if they have ideas. Its not about seeking pills or surgeries, its about applying common sense to what you are putting into your body.

Have a plan

Here’s where it gets tricky and you have to start making commitments because you need to write them down. Maybe it’s to lose twenty-five pounds in the next year (maybe more in some cases). Maybe that goal is to lower your cholesterol or your blood pressure, maybe it is a combination of things that you would like to see. Make these goals realistic for you, if you are hitting the scales at 350 pounds and you are 5’2”, a realistic goal would not be 160 in a matter of months. Likewise, setting the goal small will equally be unrealistic. This plan should be something that I recommend working with a physician on, perhaps they can even refer you to a nutritionist for further consultation.

Honestly just by writing down what you have eaten in the last two weeks you will see the answers that you need to make the plan happen. Looking at my own firehouse I see portion sizes, pop (soda), energy drinks, sugary snacks, loads of salt and carbs, and did I mention portion sizes.

This is not a diet; this is changing your life

I have to add this tidbit in here because I really think it’s important. I had friends, doctors, and other competitors ask me, what diet did you use to get to this point? The thing is, yes I did try some of those diets out there, tried watching points, and tried some pills, but those are just short term. What worked and what I reaped the most benefit from was not a diet, but changing my life. That was two-part, it was putting the time in working on my body and also putting time into planning what foods I put into my body.

Do something with the plan

Again, that time to do something is now, not tomorrow. One of the things that I regret the most is that I didn’t get in shape sooner, or honestly that I ever let myself get to that point. If part of your plan is to reduce or completely eliminate certain types of food, get rid of them and don’t buy them again.

Work with your family to cut those foods out of your menu and don’t let them back in. Having the support of my family was a huge part of how I got to where I am. Honestly may wife at times was probably pretty bored with some of my foods around the house and what I would not cook for dinner. There is still a long standing order that, “yes you can buy Girl Scout cookies, but you must hide them from me. The same applied to chocolates and other sweets that I found hard to give up at first.

How are you getting there to your goal?

If you thought committing to making a change in your life and making a plan was a difficult task, you’ve only seen a part of the battle. The other part of the battle is attaining goals. Sometimes some of the simplest things can be done to start making more of a difference.

  • Get up. Quit riding the recliner so much at the firehouse or being so static around your own home.
  • Purchase a fitness tracker and set a goal of so many thousand steps per day. Mine is a minimum of 10,000 per day, which in the fire service shouldn’t take too long to hit. Watch it throughout the day, have you been sitting for awhile, then go do something like walk the steps. If you’re getting ready for bed and you haven’t hit your mark, then keep going. My FitBit helped boost me be even more effective at staying active.
  • Don’t starve yourself. You need to eat because your body needs fuel. Not eating is the quickest way to sabotage your plan.
  • Sign up for the gym. Even better if they will do a free physical assessment with a personal trainer. I switched gyms a little over two months ago, and yet still I took the trainer up on the assessment offer and learned new things.
  • Make a date with yourself, no one likes being stood up. Put down on the calendar when you are going to work out. Plan out at the most two weeks and set dates to go.
  • Take the stairs. Why are we so afraid of steps, but will wait what sometimes can be a minute or more to take the elevator that is there? Take the steps, not only will you get where you are going faster, but you will help get that heart pumping.
  • Pre-package your snacks. When I would sit down, the food sometimes just disappeared. Just because the food is there you don’t have to eat it all. See what the recommended portion size is and package those in re-sealable bags or containers to take with you.
  • Water can be boring, I’ll admit it, and in my town the water tastes like a tin can. If you’re looking to change it up a little. Try fresh lemon juice in your water. Squeeze and leave the wedge of lemon in there throughout the day. Other options to infuse in your water that I enjoy are cucumbers or strawberries.
  • Avoid the sports drinks. Seriously, if you’re just hitting the gym for a 25-minute jog, maybe a bike ride, and some weights, you aren’t doing yourself a favor. These popular drinks are full of more calories, sugar, and other nutrients than you are often going through. Buy an easily washable and refillable water bottle from the store that has a wide top and closes well.
  • Surround yourself with good people. Know someone else at your firehouse that is starting the same mission as you or maybe already works out, hit them up and schedule some gym time. Surrounding yourself with negatives will do nothing for your progress but bring you down. I’ve dealt with this first hand. Be positive if you are out there, encourage each other, we are all here to make a difference.

Don’t give up

Lastly, this is a change that is not going to happen overnight, understand that. In some cases it took years of bad eating, too much drinking, and not enough activity to get you here, it will take some work to fix it! Do expect that this is going to be a challenge and that yes there are days when you are going to be sore and tired. Before long however you WILL see change if you are eating right and being active. At first that change might be that you see a few pounds falling off within weeks. That can be water weight, and that can also be attributed to “junk” leaving your body. Another change that I noticed in the first couple weeks when I started was that I felt more alert in the morning.

Need some motivation? Look at your kids, your spouse, your family, your fire family, and then finally look in the mirror. These are the people that you matter to, and these are who matter to you. Do it for them, do it for you, and do this so that your name is not added to the list of firefighter fatalities that is growing.

BlastMask (REVIEW) …How are you training for respiratory endurance?

BlastMask (REVIEW) …How are you training for respiratory endurance?

Jason Bostic is a sixteen-year firefighter from Ohio that is still a student of the trade. He has seen and lived through the struggle to get “FirefighterFit”, having slimmed down 75 pounds and 10-inches at the waist. Bostic is an avid competitive stair climber both in fire gear and without who promotes firefighter wellness and a “pay forward” mentality for a variety of causes such as the Scott Firefighter Stair Climb, which benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

IMG_1490I ordered my BlastMask device for my personal Scott AV3000 mask just before the New Year and to my excitement it arrived quickly. A small five-inch cube brown box was waiting for me when I checked my mailbox at work. Quickly opening it I was met by the inner white packaging that held my newest training device. If you are looking for frills, confetti, instruction manuals, bubble wrap and swag, you might be disappointed, because inside you will find only the bold red BlastMask and a small instruction sheet.


Its simplistic in nature, but sometimes the most simplistic are often the best. I love the color of this device, red does happen to be my favorite color, but I instantly fell in love with the look and feel. To me, the equipment I use in training and elsewhere needs to have a certain feel and look to it. At first examination it appears to be constructed of at the most, three parts. The outer shell comprised of the large cup where the ring providing the breathing resistance moves, the end cap, which connects into your SCBA mask, and the black resistance ring inside that does the work. As I looked at it further, the simplistic nature, open design, and few parts appear to make disinfecting and keeping it clean to be a very simple task. This is not like a regulator with multiple moving parts that can be time consuming to clean. Simple steps that really amount to spray it, wash it out, and let it dry.

The next thing I thought of after handling the device was just how lightweight it is. When I picked it up I expected more, but their design does not seem to need a lot of weight and extra pieces. While the plastic (thermoplastic polymer resin) appears to be very durable, I’m not going to perform any drop tests on my own personal one to see if it can withstand the torture at this point. At the size of a small mug, or a stack of three hockey pucks, there really is not a lot that will be hanging off your mask and certainly won’t be obscuring your vision.

First thoughts after my use

IMG_1518I could hardly wait to get home the day it arrived to grab my Scott mask and make the connection to see what Blast Mask is about. As I hooked it into the AV3000 I found it to be very tight and at first I wasn’t sure if there was a problem getting the two to marry up. There is very little tolerance in the design, and when you do click it in place it is a solid connection with no leak. I’m also taking into consideration that the mask which I use is only three years old, only bought for training and has never been beat around in the rigors of the fire ground. I pulled my mask down onto my face, tightening the straps and took my first breath. Right away I could tell that this was going to make my body work harder and could feel the reduction in how air was moving for me.

Off to the stairs at home I went, up, down, and repeat for nearly fifteen minutes straight to the beat of my music. I did so with just typical gym apparel on for the first test so I could become more familiar and ease into working with their regulator. Initially after starting my workout I feared that my mask was going to fog and obscure my vision, but I was pleased to find this didn’t happen in my first trial. I changed to a higher tempo and more intensity, and while there was condensation on the inside of the mask, no fogging. With prescription lenses framed in my mask, sometimes fogging can be an issue, but not with their regulator.

I monitored my heart rate throughout my climbing with my Fitbit watch and when I looked at the data afterwards it appeared to mimic closely what I would see when I train in my SCBA.

IMG_1519My second scenario with the BlastMask I found different results and I believe mostly to the environment. I took to the stairwell at work where there it is a much warmer climate of around 75 at most times. Wearing almost identical clothing to my first trial I quickly got into my pace. Within a short period of time, my heart rate was into more of a cardio mode and ticking right along, my respiratory system being tested, and I was feeling my body temperature climb. Unlike last night I was getting more condensation and I had very noticeable fogging by 10 minutes. By 11:46 into my climb it was beginning to be very difficult to see. As I neared just over the 18-minute mark I decided to stop, not because of exhaustion, but because of almost zero visibility.

I have conducted a number of other tests with my BlastMask, and while the fogging can be annoying, it is most certainly a fog of the fireground that we are going to experience at some point. Tests from stair running, treadmill work, elliptical, and the rowing machine really all push my body more than before and I look forward to taking it into a few other simulations in coming weeks. The fogging of my mask is acceptable given the other benefits that I get from the use of the BlastMask regulator and the real feel that I get without using full SCBA.

Slightly humorous, but have you stopped for a moment to take a look in the mirror with your SCBA mask, BlastMask regulator, and any of the higher end black weight vests? Expect to draw a few odd and longing looks at the gym and if you’re taking a run through the community that someone is going to report it. Laugh it off, and take the opportunity to educate and inform them what the device does and what you are doing to better prepare yourself to come home.


  1. Made in the U.S.A.
  2. What I see so far is a great device that is going to challenge the firefighter while wearing the Blast Mask regulator. In my testing thus far I felt firsthand the difference and was able to look at real numbers after my workout to compare.
  3. I see this being highly beneficial in firefighters being able to conduct cardio workout regimen without taking equipment out of service and dragging it to the gym or over to your firehouse fitness area. With this regulator, you’re going to feel the resistance as if you’re working on the fireground and can train for the cardio we do. Not everyone can afford their own SCBA to train with and I’ll be honest it can be annoying to run to the firehouse before every training session, grab a pack, use it, return it, fill it, and put it back in service before going home. Simply grab your mask and BlastMask and off you go!
  4. The device was $96. In the grand scheme of workout gear that I have or utilize, its not breaking the bank. Some firefighters and departments may think otherwise at the cost, but in the overall grand scheme of things it is miniscule in price.
  5. It doesn’t expire. There are no regulations on the device like there are with an SCBA. Through proper care, cleaning, use, and storage, this would be possible to outlast your gear and even the SCBA.
  6. No maintenance. Really just clean it, dry it and put it away. There is no testing required by your SCBA maintenance unit on a yearly basis to certify it. If it breaks in the first year, it’s covered by warranty.
  7. It’s a simple design that gets the job done. Less moving parts = more firefighter friendly!


  1. The only thing that I don’t entirely agree with is the “training like its real” statement that I see mentioned as being a benefit of the device. As a big-time air guy I train on air and want to see my guys clicking in and running through the tanks. Air at least in the case of my firehouse is free; we can fill our bottles with no problem and repeat. Sometimes it takes some persuasion to encourage that mentality everywhere that it costs us nothing to use our SCBA as intended. SCBA on air training is worthwhile because you need to condition the mind to monitoring that tank, and being on air, and the repeated muscle memories that go along with it. With that said, please refer back up to item number three above where I talk about it giving you almost identical feeling of being on air!
  2. Sometimes it did and sometimes it didn’t, I think this is dependent upon the conditions, but in several of my trials it was a problem. If you’re doing SAR in zero viz it’s not going to be a problem, but if your thought it to toss it on and go for a bike ride you may have a small issue.
  3. No swag. Ok, this seems stupid and trivial, but when I purchase other equipment they send along a window sticker or helmet sticker, something. This regulator is well worth promoting and getting the word out there further.
  4. No storage bag. While it does need to dry after use for obvious reasons of contamination, I think at the price point they are marketing the regulator that it could come with some type of pouch. Whether it is slightly padded with some mesh, entirely mesh, or just a padded pouch, I think that it would help protect the Blast Mask.
  5. While it isn’t of much issue in my region of Ohio, I know in other areas of the state that SCBA manufacturers such as Draeger and SurvivAir are popular. Looking at the overall scheme of things I see this as simply a startup issue that they can potentially resolve, but they wanted to hit the two big manufacturers at launch.


Overall I see this as a great product that has worked well in kicking my butt thus far and I look forward to several events and months down the road where I can see results from the time invested.   If you’re looking for that one simple device to turn that workout up in 2016, this is it. This is a sure way to help improve the strength and endurance of your respiratory system. While there are other devices out there that you can wear for “elevation training” and to add to the resistance, there is not another product out there like BlastMask which interfaces with our PPE and lets us train in similar fashion to being on air and geared up.

I simply love the BlastMask and mine is riding around with my mask in a bag from GetHosedApparel.  Kudos on this great product, I am excited to see it excel and flourish and see what might be next.