North Liberty firefighters to climb against lung disease - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

North Liberty firefighters to climb against lung disease

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NORTH LIBERTY (KWWL) -

The North Liberty Fire Department is one of 16 fire departments from across Iowa to climb for a cause in Des Moines.

Four of the department's firefighters have trained mentally and physically for the Fight for Air Climb in Des Moines Mar. 16.

"Compared to last year, we didn't really know what to expect. This year mentally I just know what I'm running into," says Ryan Brumm with the North Liberty Fire Department.

The group of four are preparing to climb 66 floors, 1,179 steps, all while wearing 80 pounds of full fire gear.

"We fight the climb because we can, verses people who may struggle to take a couple steps," says Brumm.

It's all part of the Fight for Air Climb, a fundraising event for the American Lung Association in Iowa.

The climb's effort is to help improve the lives of those battling lung disease.

The North Liberty Fire Department says training for the three building climb potentially helps it put out local fires.

"We get called out for fire alarms and they're like pack up, because you never know what you're going to go into," says firefighter Jennifer Vanderhoff. "It's pretty heavy, so just having that on there is going to be pretty crazy, but it'll be fun."

They say no matter how prepared they think they are, adding the extra gear gives a sense of how the department trains regularly.

While this is only Brumm's second year doing the challenge for the American Lung Association, it hits home and has now become a personal yearly challenge.

"I have family members that have dealt with things like [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] COPD, I know my wife's grandpa is dealing with it right now," says Brumm.

While training and building endurance to fight the climb, they realize it's all for a good cause.

"You think about how tired you're going to be and how worn out you're going to be and your like, oh am I in shape enough. but realistically how many people are out there with lung cancer, and asthma and they can't do this kind of stuff, so it's like we got you," says Vanderhoff.

The 2014 Fight for Air Climb is Sunday, March 16 in downtown Des Moines.

The North Liberty Fire Department has two air climb vets and two rookies going this year.

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