Firies climb for mental health

IT takes a special kind of person to volunteer in the emergency services, let alone work in the field.

Each callout for Country Fire Authority volunteers brings uncertainty about what they will find when they arrive on the scene, and sometimes the horrific nature of incidents such as car accidents and house fires impacts those who respond.

“There may not be loss of life but it may still be traumatic and it does not take much to fill your emotional bucket,” Inverloch CFA’s first lieutenant Steve Forrest said.

That is why he and other three other Inverloch firefighters – Ash McDermott, Liam McCall and Jarrod Frogley – are taking part in a physical challenge to raise awareness of the mental health conditions faced by firefighters and other emergency service personnel.

On Saturday, September 2, they will join Ruby CFA in the Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb at Crown Metropol Hotel, climbing 28 floors while wearing 25kg of structural firefighting and breathing apparatus equipment.

The event simulates the actions of a firefighter entering a burning high rise building, and will attract participants from across Australia and the world.

The event raises awareness of depression, post traumatic stress disorder and suicide among emergency services personnel, and also collects funds for the mental health organisation Black Dog Institute.

“We’ve had our fair share of critical and traumatic incidents at Inverloch which have taken a toll on a few people, so this is a way of saying that it’s okay to not be okay,” Mr Forrest said.

Firefighters from many Victorian metropolitan and rural brigades are taking part and Mr McDermott thought Inverloch deserved to be represented too.

“It’s just a way to step out of our comfort zone,” he said.

To prepare for the event, the Inverloch firefighters have been training at gyms and in their homes, and climbing stairs at Shack Bay between Inverloch and Cape Paterson, dressed in full firefighting gear to improve their fitness.

People wishing to sponsor the Inverloch firefighters can do so online: https://www.firefighterclimb.org.au/station/cfa/inverloch/


Up, down: from left, Inverloch CFA’s first lieutenant Steve Forrest and fourth lieutenant Ash McDermott train at Shack Bay between Inverloch and Cape Paterson, in readiness for the Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb on September 2.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=21856

Posted by on Jul 11 2017. Filed under Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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