‘Ember’ the CFA firefighting dog will be looking for a ‘pawsitive’ result, when she takes part in this year’s Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb.
Donned in turnout gear, the four-year-old Labrador will battle the 28 floors of Crown Metropol Hotel to help raise money and awareness for mental health issues including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Her handler, CFA Portland firefighter Natalie Brindle, said she’s stepped up Ember’s training in the lead up to the event.
“We do a fair bit of running and training, lots of stair climbing, so she’s pretty fit,” she said.
It’s the second year Ember and Natalie are taking on the event.
“She was pretty tired after last year’s event but I think that was more to do with all the attention she was getting,” Natalie said.
“I’ll make sure she carb loads the night before the event so she’s in tip-top shape come race day.”
600 firefighters are expected to take part in the event in September, aimed at highlighting mental health issues, and some of the support services offered.
CFA Dandenong Leading firefighter, Trent Egan, has taken part in the event five times, and said it was a chance to break down the barriers around mental health.
“We are noticing change, particularly from the younger generation. There’s a greater awareness about mental health, and we’re noticing that people are more willing to open up and talk about their mental health,” he said.
“It’s just really important that people have those conversations, and understands that it’s ok to ask for help.”