“It is very, very, very close to working on air. One of the closest things to working on air compared to having done workouts with SCBA in the past,”
Being functionally fit for firefighting requires more than doing just lifting weights or doing a company drill once during a shift. The demands placed on the body and mind require firefighters to train with a focus on task-specific movements and air management.
Exercising to improve your cardiovascular capacity helps your heart, lungs, and body perform longer on the fireground and will positively affect your decision-making abilities. “We need to develop the endurance, after the adrenaline rush, to get through the overhaul period,” says Lieutenant Kara Judd, when talking about the importance of having the physical and cardiovascular strength to continue working beyond the search and fire attack and into the later phases of fireground operations that are labor intensive.
Judd is a lieutenant with the Cazenovia Fire Department in New York and an Athletics and Fitness Association of America certified fitness trainer and owner of St. Florian Fitness. She uses social media to share her workout information and has a considerable number of followers, especially on Instagram.
“That’s where I first learned about BlastMask. I found it through other Instagram users and tried it with my cardio workouts,” she said.
“It is very, very, very close to working on air. One of the closest things to working on air compared to having done workouts with SCBA in the past,” Judd said, explaining how BlastMask mimics the challenges you would experience while wearing your SCBA and facepiece.
Kara said that she started adjusting the bypass valve to get a more realistic breathing rate as if on air. Doing this led her to realize how huge an impact on how much air she was using on the fireground. As far as a workout routine, she uses BlastMask in all the task-related workouts; crawl, drag, sled tire, etc.
Using the BlastMask also makes it easy to do workouts without having to take an SCBA out of service.
Kara added that it is great for anyone trying to get onto a firefighting career, or for preparing for C-PAT, that it is a marvelous resource if you are not in a department or have access to SCBA. She also started recommending it to those trying to get into the fire service as well. “It’s great to use on workouts and for mask confidence.”