Firefighters train for steep climb

Salt Spring team tackles BC Lung Association challenge

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Salt Spring firefighters will be taking the long way up the 48 storeys of the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre on Feb. 23 in support of the BC Lung Association. 

This will be the eighth year that the local squad has climbed the wall, competing with over 200 other firefighters from across the province. They make the 739-step climb while carrying over 22 kilograms of gear, including boots, pants, a lined coat, helmet, gloves and breathing apparatus, which will be both worn and used through the entire climb.

“Climb the Wall is a rare event in that it allows us to come together as a firefighting community to advocate for a cause that strikes close to home,” said firefighter Cameron Sweet. 

Sweet will be joined by Krystal Capranos, David Demner and Brandi Sontag in their attempt to climb. As of Tuesday morning, they had already raised almost $900.

Firefighters are often exposed to harmful chemicals in air as they fight fires, so the BC Lung Association cause is a natural fit for them.

“While we take precautions and wear special gear to protect ourselves, each fire exposes us to a mix of toxins that can contribute to firefighters’ increased risk of respiratory disease and cancer,” Sweet said.

“For us, participating in the event has become both a meaningful tradition and a great team-building exercise. Besides that, it’s a great way to spend a Sunday!” he added.

The local crew has raised almost $16,000 in their previous years of participating in the event, which goes directly to the BC Lung Association. 

Donations in support of the crew can be made by searching for the Salt Spring Island Fire Rescue team here.

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