OFD and ‘Fight For Air Climb’ Helps Fight Against Lung Cancer

These three reserve members of the Oskaloosa Fire Department took part in the  'Fight For Air Climb' on Sunday (submitted photo)

These three reserve members of the Oskaloosa Fire Department took part in the ‘Fight For Air Climb’ on Sunday (submitted photo)

Oskaloosa, Iowa – Serving the people of a community is the calling of nearly every firefighter, but serving your fellow firefighter is an honor.

This weekend, 6 members of the Oskaloosa Fire Department took part in the 2013 Fight For Air Climb. It is a fundraising event held by the American Lung Association, which took place in downtown Des Moines on April 7, 2013.

The Fight For Air Climb has participants climbing the stairs to the top of three downtown Des Moines buildings. The EMC Insurance Companies, Hub Tower, and the Des Moines Mariott Downtown all played host.

The EMC Insurance Companies building is 17 floors and has a total of 369 steps. The Hub Tower is 19 floors and takes 364 steps to climb. The Des Moines Marriott Downtown challenged those who dared with 32 floors and a massive 446 steps to reach the top.

Kurtis Grubb was a member of the Oskaloosa Reserve Fire team. Grubb was joined on his team by two other reserve members, Josh Crouse, and Carrie Bond. Another team, the Oskaloosa Professional Firefighters, consisting of Adam Haroldson, Keith Brooks and Daniel Hoy also took part in the climb.

One might wonder why firefighters from around the state might be interested in tackling all those stairs. It’s a daunting task for most people to do, but these heroes put on all their turnout gear and they race against other departments from around the state. “You’ve got to really pace yourself,” Grubb said of the climb. “Once you get about 10 floors up, you begin to get really worn out.”

The reserve team finished their relay in 18 minutes and 50 seconds. Each reserve firefighter chose a building to climb, and their total time was calculated by adding all three different times together for their overall time.

“A lot of people from the fire services end up with cancer,” Grubb explained. The exposure to the smoke and toxins such as burning insulation and plastics that can eventually help bring about the onset of lung cancer. “Even though you’re wearing you SCBA and everything… you still come across some pretty nasty stuff. You try to stay out of it as much as you can.”

Grubb also wanted to participate because of others beyond the firefighting profession that have been impacted by lung cancer.

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