Battle of the Battalions: Local Firefighter Union Celebrates 20 Years of Supporting Lung Health with Fundraising Competition

Local 1403 returns to sponsor the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb Miami on March 2

On March 2, hundreds of firefighters and first responders are expected to gather alongside participants of all walks of life to climb the stairs of loanDepot park. The “Battle of the Battalions” will pit Miami-Dade Fire Rescue’s 14 battalions, personnel at Headquarters and cadets against each other to fundraise for the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb Miami. Metro-Dade Firefighters IAFF Local 1403 issued the challenge to its members to celebrate its longstanding commitment to lung health and the community.

The local firefighters’ union has served as a presenting sponsor of the Fight For Air Climb Miami since the event’s debut twenty years ago. Participation in the Lung Association’s Climb supports lifesaving research, local programs and advocacy for the more than 2.7 million people in Florida living with lung disease, including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.

“As firefighters and first responders, we have a duty to save lives and protect our community. Our twenty-year partnership with the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb is an extension of that commitment,” said William McAllister IV, Local 1403 union president. “Lung health and safety are critical for us because the nature of our work puts us at a higher risk for lung disease. We share a mission with the Lung Association and believe in our collective power to make a difference.”

The unique fundraising concept came from Lt. Jeanette Harrington, who is the American Lung Association’s top fundraising firefighter in the country.

“As a firefighter, you’re part of a close-knit community that is like one giant family. We share a bond that is built on trust, respect and a deep sense of camaraderie. We work together, eat together and even tease each other in a friendly way,” said Lt. Harrington, who leads the headquarters team. “With the Battle of the Battalions, we’re channeling our competitive spirit for a good cause. Stair climbing comes with the trade, so this initiative is a perfect way to showcase our skills while raising money to make a difference.”

“We are incredibly grateful for our deep partnership with Local 1403 and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue—the Fight For Air Climb Miami would not be the powerhouse fundraising event it is today without their unwavering support and leadership,” said Dr. Mark J. Hauser, chair of the Lung Association’s South Florida Local Leadership Board. “Thanks to these everyday heroes, we have been able to make strides in building a healthier future. Because when you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.”

The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue teams, driven by Metro-Dade Firefighters Local 1403, have set their fundraising goal of $20,000 and are inviting the community to join them to support lung health. Here are several ways to get involved:

The Fight For Air Climb is designed for every type of participant, from beginners to competitive climbers to first responders. Participants determine their pace as they climb 1,700 stairs up and down loanDepot park—Home of the Miami Marlins. The stadium is the perfect setting for a day of fun, challenge and camaraderie.

“While climbing is par for the course for first responders, anyone can participate in the Fight For Air Climb Miami—you choose your pace,” Dr. Hauser added. “We’re encouraging the community to join us on March 2!”

Registration for the Fight For Air Climb Miami is $35 and includes a $100 fundraising minimum. For more information, and to register, visit

Thank you to Metro-Dade Firefighters IAFF Local 1403 for serving as the Presenting Sponsor for the Fight For Air Climb Miami. Thank you to our local sponsors, including Memorial Cancer Institute, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health South Florida, Economos Properties, South Florida Council of Firefighters, One Biscayne Tower, Alhambra Orchestra, Gulfstream Park, NSU Florida, Vogelzang Law and North Star Financial Planners. Thank you to our national corporate team partners, Kindred Hospitals and Raymond James.

For more information, contact:

Victoria O'Neill
(312) 273-5890
[email protected]

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