NFFF Events

9/11 Memorial Stair Climbs

The 9/11 Memorial Stair Climbs 9/11 Memorial Stair Climbs honor FDNY firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Each 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb participants pays tribute to a FDNY firefighter by climbing or walking the equivalent of the 110 stories of the World Trade Center. Your individual tribute not only remembers the sacrifice of an FDNY brother, but symbolically completes their heroic journey to save others. Through firefighter and community participation we ensure that each of the 343 firefighters is honored and that the world knows that we will never forget. These 9/11 Memorial Stair Climbs help the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation create and maintain programs that support fire service survivors. Your support of the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb events provides assistance to the surviving families and co-workers of the 343 firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice on September 11, 2001.

Interested in Becoming a NFFF 9/11 Stair Climb Coordinator?

All 9/11 Memorial Stair Climbs are coordinated by local volunteers.

NFFF Statement on PFAS in Firefighter Turnout Gear

From the Desk of Victor Stagnaro, Chief Executive Officer

The emerging health concerns over the impact of Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in firefighter turnout gear is being closely monitored by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF). In our commitment to firefighter health and safety, we join with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association (Metro Chiefs) in encouraging firefighters to follow the guidelines outlined in the joint statement issued by the IAFF and Metro Chiefs (attached). The NFFF also agrees that the elimination of PFAS (“forever chemicals”) in PPE and other firefighting equipment is important to the health and wellness of firefighters.

The NFFF urges all firefighters to reduce their exposure to PFAS in turnout gear by wearing turnout gear only when it is necessary for protection from thermal exposures while fighting fires or while in other environments immediately dangerous to life and health.

The 9/11 Stair Climbs fund the programs provided by the NFFF to support the families of your local fallen firefighters and the FDNY Counseling Service Unit.

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November 2023



Completed Stair Climb Events Accepting Donations

How to Prepare for Your 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb

We’ve developed some training resources to help you prepare for the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb. These resources include fitness/wellness, tactical and operational resources. This section will be updated with more information, so check back often to see what new resources are available!

Getting Started with an Exercise Program

If you have any known health problems or exercise limitations, please consult with your physician prior to starting this, or any exercise program. Although the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb is not a race, it is a strenuous activity and any step you can take to better prepare will pay off in the long run.

An exercise program should be started as soon as possible before a climb, ideally no less than 30 days prior to the event.

It is recommended that you obtain a physician’s clearance prior to beginning an exercise program. He or she can screen you for cardiovascular disease and other conditions which may make exercise unsafe for you to perform. It’s best to start training knowing that your body can handle the work.

Proper shoes and socks are necessary for keeping your feet healthy throughout your training program. Improper fitting footwear can lead to skin irritation, overuse injuries, knee and back pain, and can put an early end to your training program. Seek out good footwear from a walking or running specialty shoe store. Your feet and your body will thank you for it.

The most important training tip is to remember to start your exercise program slowly. Set achievable goals for yourself which require moderate effort to meet. If you are sedentary, try walking for 10-15 minutes 3 days per week. If your fitness level is higher, you can start with a little more. However, if you start your training program by doing too much too fast, you may end up injured and set your fitness routine back even more.

Keeping track of your exercise intensity is vital. Measuring your heart rate is a simple way in which you can judge your exercise intensity. You can pick up a heart rate monitor at a sports store, or you can take your pulse during and after exercise. By monitoring your heart rate, you can see how your body responds to certain exercises, giving you an idea of how much you can push yourself.

Documenting your progress on a calendar, in a log book, or even online, can help keep you focused on your training program. By logging in your miles, steps, heart rate, etc., on the days you exercise, you can begin to see gradual improvement over time. Seeing this feedback provides great motivation to continue training and may give insight to your rate of exercise progression.

To prevent soreness, injury, and overtraining, it is best to progress your exercise routine gradually. The F.I.T.T. Principle of Exercise states that there are 4 components to designing an exercise program. Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type. Frequency is how often you exercise (3-5 days is recommended). Intensity is how difficult the exercise is (measured in Heart Rate or Rating of Exertion). Time is the duration of the exercise session (measured in minutes). Type is the mode or type of exercise activity performed (walking, biking, swimming, weights, etc.). For Example:
  • To begin a walking program, it is recommended that you begin a program of moderate intensity walking for 20-30 minutes per day with a frequency of 3 days per week.
  • If you are successful at this for 2-3 weeks you may gradually increase the duration or time of each walk by 5 minutes, or the frequency of days per week to 4.
  • If you are able to perform this new level of activity you can continue to progress in the frequency, time, and eventually, intensity, by walking faster, walking uphill, climbing stairs*, or even beginning a jogging program.

Sticking with an exercise program for the long-term can be challenging. If you find activities that you enjoy or can participate in with others, you are one step closer to making regular physical activity a part of your life. Other sources of motivation include: listening to music and/or watching television/movies during your exercise, exercising with a partner or trainer, taking a class, exercising outdoors, training for an event like a 5k walk or stair climb.*

Your body is built to inform you when it’s tired, injured, or sore; also when it is energized, and ready to be active. Listen to your body. If it is telling you to rest, then rest. If it’s telling you that you have energy, take advantage of that feeling and go be active. Being aware of when you are tired or energized can give you an idea of when to structure your exercise sessions. If you are sore or injured, take time to rest and recover before pushing yourself. Contact a physician or physical therapist if your injury does not improve.

Last, but not least, remember to stretch and relax after your workout. Exerting yourself physically exposes your body to stress. One of the best ways to relieve stress or tension in the body is to perform gentle stretching exercises. Forget those warm-ups that you did in high school football practice. These stretches consist of gradual and static holds for 20-30 seconds for each body part or area to be stretched. Make sure to stretch out your low back, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves. Visit the  Mayo Clinic for more information on stretching.

9/11 Memorial Stair Climbs

History of the 9/11 Stair Climb

The first stair climb held to support the mission of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation was held on September 11, 2005. when five Colorado firefighters convened at a high-rise building in downtown Denver to climb 110 flights of stairs in memory of their FDNY brothers who were killed in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The following year, twelve firefighters participated, representing four fire departments from the metro Denver area. Each subsequent years, attendance grew, until it was capped at 343 participants in 2008.

Since its beginning, the Denver 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb has evolved into a much anticipated annual events, and generated interest from individuals across the country who hoped to adapt the format and host an event in their cities. In 2010, the original Denver team partnered with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation to create a template that would enable coordinator to successfully replicate a 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb anywhere in the United States.

9/11 and WTC Illness

In the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks, our nation demonstrated fortitude and perseverance. Firefighters from around the country arrived in New York City within 48 hours to assist with the recovery missions. As the fire service mourned the loss of 343 members of FDNY along with other first responders and civilians who died that day, it was clear that collectively we would promise to never forget.