Firies take up challenge a stair at a time

A TEAM from the volunteer Bridgewater Fire Brigade will take on a massive challenge next month, and it won’t be fighting fires.

Five members of the Brigade will be running up the 28 floors of the Crown Metropole in Melbourne, with a full fire kit weighing at least 25 kilos, and it’s all in the name of charity.

The crew taking part in the Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb on September 7 are officers Aleks Long, and Jamie Hepburn along with firefighters Bianca Long, Nick Robertson and Brendan Tucker.

Aleks Long
Officer Aleks Long
Firefighter Bianca Long
Firefighter Nick Robertson
Officer Jamie Hepburn


Firefighter Brendan Tucker

“This is the second year that Brendan and I will be taking part so we decided to get a team together to take up the challenge for the Bridgewater Fire Brigade,” Aleks Long said.

Organised by the Melbourne Fire Brigade, the run is in its sixth year. Itaims to raise $700,000 for the Emergency Services Foundation, Lifeline and the Black Dog Institute to improve support services, fund research, remove stigmas and raise awareness of mental health issues like depression, post traumatic stress Injury and suicide, especially for those within the emergency service and defence communities.

“It’s a fantastic initiative which we believe is raising vital funds for some very important issues facing people on a daily basis. Mental health is a very serious issue facing many in our community. We believe this is such a worthwhile cause and we are pleased to be representing our municipality in this way.

“As firefighters we have challenges every time we respond to an emergency and many firefighters themselves have to deal with the impacts of those emergencies.

“This is our chance to give back to those organisations that are doing so much to help people who face their own personal challenges.”

Aleks said the event is also an opportunity for crews to do something together outside their volunteer work in emergency services.

“It’s a good bonding event for all of us that takes us outside what we do in our work here at the Brigade, helping us to show our competitive side and to improve our fitness but at the same time, the opportunity of having some fun together too,” Aleks said.

“What we do is fairly hectic so it’s good to be able to do something together that is not so tough on our mind but that really challenges our bodies.

“The other most important side of this is raising awareness of the full range of services that are available for people who need them.”

Aleks admits that running up 28 floors certainly takes its toll.

“After that run, our legs wouldn’t make it back down, walking, so we most definitely take the lift back to the ground again,” he laughed.

“As a brigade we always involve ourselves in the community through community events, such as school fairs and major events throughout the year. We always welcome tours of the brigade so that community members understand what we do. We just don’t look after Bridgewater, but we are also a back-up for the Brighton and Old Beach brigades as required.

“We are certainly a whole-of-community brigade,” Aleks said.

If you would like more information about the Melbourne stair climb or donate to the Bridgewater team’s challenge go to: