Local firefighters Kirk Tamburino

Local firefighters Kirk Tamburino

Local firefighters ready to feel the burn

  • May. 6, 2011 6:00 a.m.

It’s going to get plenty steamy at Panorama next week.

The recreation center is gearing up for a Muscular Dystrophy fundraiser with the three Peninsula volunteer fire departments.

Panorama is hosting a friendly challenge on the spin bikes May 11 at 7:45 p.m. for a 45 minute class called The Big Burn.

“The spin bike computers give a calorie burn readout and we are going to tally which department has the highest calorie burn for the class,” said event organizer and Panorama trainer, Michelle Bourgeois.

Five members of North Saanich, Sidney, and Central Saanich fire departments will compete to see which department can achieve the biggest burn.

“It kind of started as a joke,” said North Saanich Fire Chief Gary Wilton. “There are a couple of us (North Saanich firefighters) in the spin class and some from Sidney.” Bourgeois’ quip that Wilton had better peddle faster as he had a Sidney firefighter behind him, went from a running gag in class to a full-out challenge.

“We encourage fitness with our members,” said Wilton. “They get passes to the rec centre so they can keep in shape because it’s important.” Approximately 60 per cent of firefighter deaths are attributed to heart attack, Wilton said. Some 32 per cent of firefighter deaths from heart attacks occur at fire scenes, one US study found.

Bourgeois has organized prizes for the fire fighting spinners who will recruit pledges for their ongoing support to Muscular Dystrophy.

“A number of the members have been training hard for this event and it should be a great way to showcase the fitness level of our local firefighters and see which department wins bragging rights as the fittest crew,” Bourgeois said.

“It’s mostly about raising awareness for the Boot Drive coming up at the end of the month,” said Wilton. Although he is always up for a friendly challenge with Central Saanich and Sidney.

“I think we’ll do all right. Our guys are pretty fit. I thought I should get a bit of a handicap though, I look at a few of those guys, especially in Central Saanich and they’re young and buff — I’m 60.”

Donations to Muscular Dystrophy and The Big Burn can be made at your local fire department or Panorama Recreation Centre.