While firefighters are often lauded for their impressive feats, many people do not realize the true extent of their skills. Firefighters are trained to handle a variety of situations, from rescuing people from burning buildings to rappelling down roofs. In addition, many firefighters have served in the military, making them even more adept at handling difficult situations. The following list covers some of the most impressive feats performed by firefighters, ranging from saving people from airplane crashes to serving on secret missions.
Jason Durbin—Saved A Woman Trapped 28 Floors Up
In 2009, firefighter Jason Durbin was working as a private ambulance driver as a side job in Chicago when he saw smoke rising from the roof of a building. Unsure if it was steam or smoke, he got closer and saw flames through the window. He made the split-second decision to charge into the building and up the stairs to the 28th floor. Mind you, he did this with no gear to protect himself from the toxic fumes or heat from the fire. Along the way, he ran into a man carrying a baby. The man thought his neighbor might be in trouble. Jason was able to get the baby and the man to safety before firefighters arrived on the scene.
He neared the door, took a few deep breaths, and then ran as fast as he could while looking for the woman who was missing inside. In the confusion, he accidentally hit her with his knee and picked her up. Then he carried her over his shoulder as he ran down the 28 flights of stairs he had come up.
Although it would have been quicker and easier to take the elevator, Durbin ran up the stairs to save a woman’s life. He was rewarded for his heroism with an award from the fire department.
Peter Demontreux—Charged Through Flames To Save A Man
In 2010, Peter Demontreux responded to a call for a structure fire in Brooklyn. The fire was so bad that the temperature sensor attached to his protective suit started to melt. Demontreux could hear a man screaming near a window, but he couldn’t find a way to get to him. With each step through the zero-visibility fire, the heat became more intense.
He continued, “I remember looking up and seeing a big tornado coming. I remember thinking to myself, ‘We’re going to die.’” As Demontreaux crawled through the kitchen, he saw the man hanging half his body out the window trying to get a breath of air. Demontreaux grabbed the man and they went to the front room where they saw a tornado coming.
The flames were described as being so hot that they were 1,000 degrees. This caused Demontreux’s bunker coat to not be able to protect him completely. He moved quickly as the flames burned his body. He later described the feeling of his face being burned as being poked with needles. Demontreux got the man to the window and onto the ladder. He was then immediately put into an ambulance that rushed towards the hospital. The man suffered from second-degree burns on over 40 percent of his body but he survived.
Demontreux was given the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor by Vice President Biden at the White House.
Jack Pritchard—The Most Decorated Firefighter In FDNY History
It’s difficult to know where to start when telling the story of the most decorated firefighter in the history of the New York City Fire Department. Jack Pritchard’s career is full of acts of valor, many of which are highlighted on this list. It’s important to note that Jack Pritchard was not immune to fire; in fact, he seemed to act as if he were. Early in his career, he helped save a child with mental disabilities who was trapped on the third floor. Pritchard ran to the floor without an oxygen mask and, realizing the situation was dire, smothered the child with his jacket before jumping down to the first floor. His teammates sprayed water on them as they were rushed to the burn unit of the hospital.
He was later given his own command and he held his men to very high standards. Rescue 2 was an elite unit that specialized in going into burning buildings and saving any living creature that occupied the structure. In 1992, he didn’t wait for orders and went into a building to find a man on fire in his bed. He extinguished the man and dragged him out of the building by himself. In 1998, Pritchard risked his life yet again when he learned a baby was left in the crib in her room. With what we’ve seen of Pritchard so far, we can assume that he was the first person to volunteer for the job.
He noticed that the baby was still alive when he got to the crib, but he couldn’t pick the baby up without risking further burns. So, Pritchard grabbed the whole crib with his bare hands and dragged it outside, even though it burned his hands badly. He received the Bennett medal, which is the highest medal of valor in the New York City Fire Department.
Pritchard retired in 1999 after having a successful firefighting career. He is considered one of the best firefighters to have ever lived.
Eddie Loder is the most decorated firefighter in the history of the Boston Fire Department. He has been awarded the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Medal, and the Purple Heart. He has also been awarded the National Firefighter of the Year award. Loder has been a firefighter for over 20 years and has served in the capacity of fire chief for the past 10 years. Eddie Loder is the most decorated firefighter in the history of the Boston Fire Department. With over 20 years of experience, he has been awarded the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Medal, and the Purple Heart. In addition, he has been named National Firefighter of the Year. Loder has served as fire chief for the past 10 years.
In 1987, Edward T. Loder was awarded the Roll of Merit when he and members of his unit rappelled down an elevator shaft to save two trapped men. They managed to fit the men, who were working maintenance on the building, through a space as small as 0.6 meters (2 ft) square.
Three years after he joined the police force, Loder was awarded the Walter Scott Medal for Valor. This was for rescuing a woman in a way that would be considered unrealistic if it were in a film. A woman was threatening to jump from the windowsill of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 55 meters (180 ft) above the ground. After two hours of unsuccessful negotiations, Loder linked up his rappel system around his body, lowered himself just out of the woman’s field of view, pushed off the side of the hotel, and kicked the woman into the room with his feet.
Loder was awarded the Roll of Merit three additional times in his successful career in 1993, 1998, and 2001.
Become A Badass By Training Like A Firefighter
Who is this program for?
- Firefighters seeking a higher level of fitness
- Men and women who want to become firefighters
- Firefighters interested in competing in firefighter challenges
- Anybody who wants to train like a firefighter
What equipment do I need?
Most of these workouts are able to be completed with equipment typically found in a gym. However, as time progresses, you may find that you need more specialized equipment like prowlers, charged hose lines, Rescue Randy, pylons, stairs, a Keiser force machine, a sledgehammer, and hose bundles.
- Overhead squats x 12-15 reps, rest 2 minutes x 3
- Stiff-leg deadlift x 10-12 reps, rest 2 min x 3
- Wall ball x 15-20 reps, rest 1 min x 3
- Deadbugs @ 41X1, 6-8/side, rest 1 min x 3
- 100m run, rest – walk 100m x 4
Notes: Keep neutral spine on stiff-leg deadlifts
Seated dumbbell shoulder press (10″) x 10-12 reps, rest 1 minute. The first exercise is a narrow-grip bench press with 10-12 repetitions, followed by 1 minute of rest. The second exercise is a seated dumbbell shoulder press with 10-12 repetitions, followed by 1 minute of rest. Do three sets of 10-12 pull-ups, resting for two minutes in between each set. Perform incline bench dumbbell presses for 10-12 reps, resting for 1 minute in between sets. Perform 4 sets in total. Do three sets of 10-12 repetitions with one minute of rest in between sets using dumbbell rows.
- 15 min rowing @ 80-90%
Notes: Rowing should be at a steady pace.
- Walking wtd lunges x 10-12 reps/leg, rest 2 min x 3
- GH raises x 10-12 reps, rest 1 min x 3
- 25 sit-ups, rest 1 min x 3
4 rounds for time:
- 5 TnG (touch-and-go) Deadlifts (tough)
- 7 Burpees – Fast
- Row 100m HARD – rest 3 min between sets before intervals. Move quickly, but be careful not to neglect form on the last piece before intervals.
- Seated DB press x 10-12 reps, rest 2 min x 3
- Seated cable rows x 10-12 reps, rest 2 min x 3
Push press x 8-10 reps, rest 1 min -3 sets. Perform 8-10 hang power cleans, resting for one minute in between sets. Repeat this 2-3 times.
- 10 sec Airdyne sprint @ 95%, rest 90 sec x 4
If you can’t find an airdyne, use an elliptical machine.
Saturday or Sunday
20-25 min Hike/Elliptical @ Z1 (HR 110-130)
- Split Squats x 9-11 reps, rest 1 min b/t legs x 3
- Deadlift x 8-10 reps, rest 2 min x 3
- GH raises x 9-11 reps, rest 1 min x 3
- Side Bridge 40 sec, rest 20 x 2/side
- 10 sec AD sprint @ 100%, rest 1:20 x 5
- Bench press x 8-10 reps, rest 2-3 min x 3
- Pull-ups x 8-10 reps, rest 2 min x 3
C1. Dips x 8-10 reps, rest 1 min
Do 8-10 reps of ring rows, resting for 1 minute in between sets. Do this 3 times.
- 30 sec row @ 80-90%, 30 sec @ 50% x 12 – rest 3 min b/t sets 6&7
- Back Squats x 8-10 reps, rest 2-3 min x 3
- Good Mornings x 9-11 reps, rest 2 min x 3
- Swiss ball leg curls x 9-11 reps, rest 1 min x 3
- Plank on elbows x 1:15 min, rest 15 sec x 3
- Row 100m @ 100%, rest 1:45 x 5
- Standing press x 8-10 reps, rest 2 min x 3
- Bent over rows x 8-10 reps, rest 2 min x 3
C2. Every 2 mins for 10 mins: 10-12 reps Dumbbell Bench Press Every 2 minutes, for 10 minutes (5 sets): 7-9 Seated Dumbbell Presses Rest 1 minute 10-12 Dumbbell Bench Presses
Do two to four sets of dumbbell rows, resting for one minute in between each set. For each set, do seven to nine repetitions with each arm.
- 9 min AD @ 80-90%, rest 5 min x 2
Saturday or Sunday
30-45 min hike, preferably over varied terrain
- Split Squats x 8-10 reps, rest 1 min b/t legs x 3
- Deadlift x 6-8 reps, rest 2 min x 3
- GH raises x 10-12 reps, rest 1 min x 3
- Side Bridge 45 sec, rest 25 sec x 2/side
- 10 sec AD sprint @ 100%, rest 1:20 x 6
Notes: control descent on split squats and GH raises
- Bench press x 6-8 reps, rest 2-3 min x 3
- Pull-ups x 6-8 reps, rest 2 min x 3
C1. Dips x 6-8 reps, rest 1 min
sets Do 6-8 reps of ring rows, then rest for 1 minute. Do this 3 times.
- 30 sec row @ 80-90%, 30 sec @ 50% x 14 – rest 3 min b/t sets 7&8
Notes: Use full ROM on all lifts
- Back Squats x 6-8 reps, rest 2-3 min x 3
- Good Mornings x 8-10 reps, rest 2 min x 3
- Swiss ball leg curls x 10-12 reps, rest 1 min x 3
- Plank on elbows x 1:30 min, rest 15 sec x 3
- Row 100m @ 100%, rest 1:45 x 6
Notes: Lift hips high on ball curls
- Standing press x 6-8 reps, rest 2 min x 3
- Bent over rows x 6-8 reps, rest 2 min x 3
C2. DB Fly x 10-12 reps, rest 1 min C1. Sit on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level, palms facing your body. C2. Lie back on the bench and press the dumbbells straight up, keeping a slight bend in your elbow throughout. C1. Seated Dumbbell Press – Sit on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand resting on your thighs. Start with the dumbbells at shoulder level and your palms facing your body. Using your thighs to help raise the dumbbells, clean the dumbbells to your shoulders. From here, press the dumbbells up keeping a slight bend in your elbow throughout the lift. Lower the dumbbells back down to your shoulders and repeat for 6-8 reps. C2. Dumbbell Fly – Lie flat on your back on a bench with a light dumbbell in each hand. Start with the dumbbells above your chest with your palms facing each other. Keeping your arms straight, lower the dumbbells out to the side until your arm is at a 90-degree angle to your torso. Pause for a count of one and then slowly
Do six to eight DB rows on each arm, resting for one minute in between sets. Do this two times.
- 10 min AD @ 80-90%, rest 5 min x 2
Notes: track HR to know what 80% feels like
Saturday or Sunday
A 40-50 minute hike or elliptical session at a heart rate of 110-130 beats per minute is equivalent to about 60% of your maximum oxygen uptake.
- Split Squats – find an 8 RM, rest as needed b/t legs
- Deadlift – find a 5 RM, rest as needed
- GH raises x 11-13 reps, rest 1 min x 3
- Side Bridge 50 sec/side – 30 rest, 2/side
- 10 sec AD sprint @ 100%, rest 1:20 x 7
Notes: a test of split squats and deadlifts, mind form!
- Bench press – find a 5 RM, rest as needed
- Pull-ups – Find a 5RM, rest as needed
- Dips – Find a 5 RM, rest as needed
- Ring Rows – Find a 5 RM (angle and weight as needed)
- 30 sec row @ 80-90%, 30 sec @ 50% x 16 – rest 3 min b/t sets 8&9
- Back Squats – Find a 5 RM, rest as needed
- Good Mornings x 7-9 reps, rest 2 min x 3
- Swiss ball leg curls x 11-13 reps, rest 1 min x 3
- Plank on elbows – AMSAP, 1 attempt
- Row 100m @ 100%, rest 1:45 x 7
Notes: Keep back straight on all lifts
- Standing press – find a 5 RM, rest as needed
- Bent over rows – find a 5 RM, rest as needed
3 sets While seated, do 5-7 reps of the DB press, then rest for 1 minute. Do this for 3 sets in total.
Do five to seven rows with your arms for each set and take a one-minute break in between each set. Do this two times.
- 10 min AD – 1 attempt max cals
Notes: strong, hard effort for 10 min straight
Saturday or Sunday
45-55 min Hike/Elliptical @ Z1 (HR 110-130)