Monroe County Fire Bureau Partners with Lung Association in 2nd Annual Firefighter Challenge at Fight for Air Climb Rochester

Fire Bureau Hoping to Recruit More Local Firefighters to Climb on Nov 16

When Sam DeRosa, Fire Coordinator for the Monroe County Fire Bureau, thinks about what firefighters do every day on the job, he can’t help but think about how heavily they rely on their lungs and good overall respiratory health. Good lung health is especially important to firefighters who must be able to give 110 percent to save someone’s life at a moment’s notice.

That’s why DeRosa didn’t hesitate when he was approached by the American Lung Association earlier this year about helping to get the word out to Monroe County firefighters about the Lung Association’s 2013 Fight for Air Climb. The event, which is taking place on Saturday November 16 at One Bausch + Lomb Place, includes a special “Firefighter Challenge” that pits different teams of firefighters and first responders against one another in a race to the top of the 20-floor building.  While most would consider climbing 400 steps challenging enough, firefighters participating in the challenge do so while wearing full turnout gear.  The equipment firefighters carry includes their self-contained breathing apparatus which is heavy,  weighing between 50 and 70 pounds.  All monies raised at the event support the Lung Association’s mission to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease.

“All of us depend on our lungs; firefighters especially,” says DeRosa.  “About 40 percent of the jobs firefighters respond to are emergency medical calls.  Of those, I’d estimate that half of them involve assisting people who are struggling with shortness of breath.  This event is a great way for our members to keep fit with some additional training, support a great cause and have a lot of fun in the process.”

“Last year we had a few firefighters from Monroe County participate but this year we’re hoping to attract even more,” said event manager Annalise de Zoete.   To encourage that, de Zoete and her colleague, Jaime Anderson, will be attending the meeting of the Executive Fire Chiefs in September where they’ll be presenting the Fight for Air Climb to members.  Joining them will be Monroe County firefighter Zach Delaney who participated in the 2012 Fight for Air Climb and will be climbing with members of the Brockport Fire Department. 

“The Fight for Air Climb is really an experience,” says de Zoete.  “While we will also be reaching out to fire departments by sending them flyers, nothing beats the opportunity to hear from others who have participated in the past.  It’s the kind of event that people want to come back to year after year because it’s so much fun.”

 The Monroe County Fire Bureau is comprised of 39 fire departments and 78 fire stations.  Both DeRosa and the Lung Association are hoping many of them will be at Bausch + Lomb Place on November 16 for a healthy dose of competition where everyone wins.

“We’re all like a family and we’re here to serve our larger Rochester community,” says DeRosa.  “I am looking forward to partnering with the Lung Association for this event and I know once our firefighters learn more about it, they’ll be excited to be a part of it as well.”


The 2013 Fight for Air Climb in Rochester takes place on Saturday, November 16.  In addition to the Firefighter Challenge, members of the general public also take part as individuals or by forming teams. Participants of all ages and fitness levels are welcome.  An early bird registration rate of $25 is in effect until September 12. All participants are required to raise a minimum of $100.

Those interested in learning more about the Fight for Air Climb should contact Annalise de Zoete, event manager, at (585) 666-1402 or RochesterClimb@LungNE.org.