A local organization of "fools" helps provide training to make firefighters wiser and more efficient in battling blazes.
Central Ohio F.O.O.L.S. (Fraternal Order of Leatherheads Society) will hold its Pump and Run 5K Saturday, Feb. 15, in Grandview Heights to raise funds to offset the cost of a progressive eight-hour training program led by Seattle firefighter Aaron Fields.
The Pump and Run event will begin with a bench-press component at 10 a.m. at CrossFit Scioto, 1025 W. Third Ave. Participants then will take to the streets at 10:30 a.m. for the 5K run.
"Aaron Fields' program, Nozzle Forward, is a class for engine companies and helps build their skills in the craft of handling the fire hose and to become more proficient in using the resources they have to fight fires," Grandview firefighter Jason Kay said.
"I had the chance to take the eight-hour course and it's a fantastic training program," said Kay, who currently is vice president and past president of the local F.O.O.L.S. chapter.
"The local F.O.O.L.S. chapter started in 2006," he said. "Our mission is to provide training opportunities for local firefighters so they can more safely and efficiently do their jobs. Our goal is to make sure everybody goes home."
While ongoing training is important for firefighters, it is also expensive, and many departments don't have the funds in their budgets to provide the service to the members of their forces, Kay said.
The cost of Fields' training program is $550 per person for the eight-hour session, and F.O.O.L.S. would like to be able to bring the cost down to about $160 per firefighter, he said.
"That way, a fire department could send three firefighters for the normal cost of one," Kay said. "Our goal is to raise $2,000 from the Pump and Run event."
Proceeds will go to help pay the cost of bringing Fields to Columbus this summer, he said.
The cost to participate in the Pump and Run is $45 in advance and $50 the day of the event.
Participants can register and get more information about the event at centralohiofools.com.
Depending on their age, men will be required to bench press from 60 to 100 percent of their weight and women from 40 to 70 percent of their weight. Prizes will be awarded to the first-place male and female in each age group.
Athletes must successfully lift at least one rep and run the 5K.
"A runner's time will be reduced by 10 seconds for each rep they complete," Kay said, with a maximum reduction of 300 seconds (for 30 reps).
A run-only division also has been added, he said.
Each person who registers in advance will be guaranteed a race T-shirt and a beer growler from the Ohio Tap Room, one of the event's sponsors.
Other sponsors include CrossFit Scioto, Firefighter wife.com, Box15 and State of Devotion, which will provide free samples, hot chocolate and race support.
"We try to present at least one training program each year," Kay said. "We get a great response from local fire departments, usually with around 120 firefighters attending from departments all over central Ohio."