Creeping closer to the finish line of the Firefighter Stair Climb for 2021, Chris Fiddler, Lieutenant at Kangaroo Ground Fire Brigade, is proud to see new brigade members join the challenge this year.
Taking on his third annual stair climb, Chris is joined for the first time by fellow members Captain Duncan Bucknall and new volunteer firefighters Tash Sinclair and Mia Bankes-Fay.
“I’m thrilled Duncan, Mia and Tash are involved and doing so well this year. The event really encompasses what CFA is about – community and teamwork,” he said.
Like many who are doing the virtual climb, the brigade has been taking to local outdoor areas and utilising home staircases to clock up the steps for the challenge.
Chris understands the huge challenge many face with conditions like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression, which inspired him to set an enormous goal of 30,460 stairs for the month.
“I wanted to make it a challenge for myself. I know there are so many across Australia who are doing it tough because of COVID.
Chris’ hope is that stepping up for an event like this might help fund vitals services that support those who need it most.
“Most people sadly know someone who has faced mental health issues and even suicide,” he said.
“Equally, we know exercise is good for the mind. I know how good I feel after I complete a session of stairs, even if my knees get a bit sore,” he said.
First-time climber and new brigade member Tash Sinclair has welcomed the challenge, and with gyms being shut it has been her outlet.
“I’m normally so fit and active. This has really helped me keep my fitness up and motivated me to get outside and get moving.”
Tash has been a CFA volunteer for 18 months and said CFA has supported her wellbeing through training.
“CFA has been great, we get training on our mental fitness and how we can stay free from harm at incidents,” she said, but recognised: ”you can’t always train for everything you might experience in life or on the fireground”.
“The stair climb helps highlight the importance of mental health amongst the brigade and within the community,” she said.
Today is World Mental Health Day and the last day of the climb for 2021. If you’d like to support Kangaroo Ground Fire Brigade or any climbers you know, head to www.firefighterclimb.org.au