Aaron Zamzow Credits BlastMask for Simulating When You Go on Air
Firefighter/Training Officer Aaron Zamzow is the creator of Fire Rescue Fitness and has been providing a wide range of fitness programs to firefighters for 12 years. His work came from the need to train functionally with a plan, something that he realized at his first fire department.
Fitness training in the fire service must be functionally based, where the exercises simulate actual fireground tasks, such as forcible entry, ladder raises, and victim carries. For this reason, many firefighters will often don their PPE and SCBA for these exercises, and some will even do them with their facepiece on breathing from their SCBA. The reason for being “on air” is to build up cardiorespiratory endurance. BlastMask is a training regulator that simulates the sensation of being “on air” without having to take SCBA out and refill bottles. The device functions just like a regulator and even has a bypass valve that operates just like the one on actual SCBS does.
“BlastMask helps simulate when you go on air, and if you choose to wear an SCBA pack, the weight of the pack adds stress to your workout, “says Zamzow. He has incorporated it into some of his Fire Rescue Fitness programs in intervals such as afterburners, where it is used in 10-, 15-, and 20-minute cardio sessions.
“You can have great success with it while wearing the SCBA pack or just using BlastMask alone. It is great tool because it is so convenient. You do not have to fill bottles, you can stay in service, and it is easy to clean. It’s great to simulate game conditions too.”
Zamzow added that Blast Mask is also advantageous based on his location. “Air consumption drills in the winter, in Wisconsin, are difficult because the packs freeze up.”
His favorite use of BlastMask is to incorporate at the end of training during his intervals. “My workout incorporates mobility and active movements along with functional strength training and I finish with cardio intervals. This is a great place to utilize the BlastMask. I set up five stations that incorporate various fireground movements like crawling, dragging, sledging, pulling, and stair climbing and perform a 10-minute interval. The BlastMask simulates the SCBA breathing and the exercise mimics the movements done during fire/rescue scenarios. I found that these “BlastMask” intervals along with the Fire Rescue Fitness functional workouts really improve performance (on and off) the fire scene.”
“I’ll also use it on crawls, and with the medicine ball. I’ll do step-ups with it with weights and plank with it as well,” he added.