DEERFIELD – Oriskany Fire Chief Jeff Burkhart, who serves as director for the Central New York Memorial Stair Climb, joined NewsTalk Wednesday evening to talk about this year’s climb.
This year’s event is being held on a Saturday for the first time, on Sept. 8 at the Utica State Office Building, and that change has made all the difference for registration. On April 1 registration opened for first responders climbing in full gear, and already all of the firefighter and EMS positions have filled up. There are now just 20 police spots left.
If you’re a member of law enforcement interested in registering for this year's climb, you can sign up here. Volunteers are also still needed for the climb, and volunteers must register as well.
There is also now a registration option for “alternates,” who will show up on the day of the climb and take the place of the registered climbers who do not show up, or for the registered climbers who notify the climb board beforehand that they cannot make it.
Only 423 climbers are allowed, because that is the number of first responders who died in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001. Each climber gets a tag that represents the first responder they’re climbing in honor of, and they place that tag upon a memory board and ring a bell when they’ve completed the climb.
The climb is 55 flights of stairs up and 55 flights of stairs down, to represent the 110 flights of stairs that were in One World Trade Center.
This year there will also be a kids firematics event taking place during the climb.
The 2018 CNY Memorial Stair Climb will be dedicated to New York State Police Investigator Michael Petrie of Troop D in Marcy, who died in January following a five-month-long battle with cancer.