Cayden Darge has just under a month to get himself up to scratch.
He and his team from the Ballarat Fire Brigade on Barkly Street have entered the Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb - they'll have to sprint up 28 flights of stairs to the top of the Crown Metropol on September 7.
The challenge, he said, is the 25kg of breathing apparatus strapped to your back and the gasmask on your face.
"It sounds easy, climbing 28 flights of stairs, but once you get to about the 10th floor, it starts to really kick in how painful it is," he said.
"Once you get to the top, your legs are on fire."
This is the fourth time Mr Darge has entered the event, but it's for a good cause - the Ballarat brigade alone has raised more than $5000 in the last few years.
"We're all raising money for the Emergency Services Foundation, Lifeline, and the Black Dog Institute," he said.
"It affects a lot of emergency service workers - it's about PTSD, anxiety, suicide prevention - it means a lot to raise money for them, considering the nature of the work.
"It's a good way to raise money, to do something that firefighters are designed to do."
The annual event raises hundreds of thousands for the charity, and firefighters from across Victoria - and from interstate, with a couple of cameos from New York City and New Zealand - chase each other up the stairs each year.
Teams and volunteers from across Ballarat are joining in, with the Buninyong-Mount Helen Fire Brigade's Patrick Cashin hitting the gym in preparation.
"There's a few guys within our brigade we're keen to beat, there's one guy who's out for revenge this year," he said, adding it was a good social mixer for emergency workers.
"It's all about getting down there and having fun, and enjoy each other's company - and the beer afterwards, a crucial recovery procedure."
Mr Cashin added his time last year was an impressive four minutes and 28.6 seconds - but "there were people nearly a whole minute faster".
Trentham firefighter Ethan Brown, 19, is participating in the climb for the first time this year.
He chose to take part as he has previously suffered poor mental health due to his work as a first responder in the community.
"I am now recovered and believe this is my way to give back to help others going through the same sort of thing as I did," he said.
"I think it is very important to reduce the stigma around mental health especially for our first responders. I say to people that it's okay to speak up if you're not okay."
Mr Brown joined Trentham CFA as a junior in 2011 and has been a senior firefighter since 2016.
He enjoys volunteering with the CFA for the many ways he is able to give back to the community.
"I love being part of the team of great people at the Trentham CFA and the organisation as a whole," he said.
Mr Brown also volunteers as a first responder through Ambulance Victoria's GoodSAM app, which alerts qualified responders to nearby patients in cardiac arrest to prepare patients for the arrival of an ambulance.
He is also the lead campaigner for a Community Emergency Response Team to be set up in Trentham to assist with faster response times to medical emergencies in the town.
To donate to your local brigade's entrants, visit the Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb website.
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