May 4, 2021
Each year, we celebrate this day, May 4th as International Firefighters’ Day. Many of us have not experienced the unfortunate tragedy of a fire. We hope to never experience this, but if we encounter an emergency, we rely on those at our local fire department to rescue us. We sometimes take for granted the men and women firefighters, but when called upon, we can’t be thankful enough. Not every call is a life-threatening incident to a firefighter but every call has that potential.
We would like to say thank you to all of the brave men and women responding to emergencies, saving our most cherished possessions and most importantly our lives. You put yourself on the line every day for us, for many entirely voluntarily, and for that we thank you.
International Firefighters Day was born of a tragedy. On December 2, 1998, a tragic event shook the Linton Community, Australia and the world. Firefighters in Linton, Australia, a populated region in Victoria, were fighting a large bush fire and called for mutual aid. This urgent mutual aid call brought the Geelong West Fire Brigade to the scene, not knowing the despair and tragedy that was in store. Garry Vredeveldt, Chris Evans, Stuart Davidson, Jason Thomas, and Matthew Armstrong all loaded into company’s truck. They were part of a strike team and were being sent to help extinguish the flames. As the five headed into the hot zone, the wind suddenly switched direction, engulfing the truck in flames and killing all five members. This unfortunate incident is what inspired JJ Edmondson to bring about an international holiday,
2 significant symbols of International Firefighters' Day are the red and blue ribbon and Saint Florian, the patron saint of firefighters. This ribbon is cut precisely five centimeters long and one centimeter wide, with the two separate colors conjoined at the top. JJ Edmondson chose red and blue because the red stood for the element of fire whereas the blue would represent the element of water. Coincidentally, red and blue are also the colors recognized world-wide to signify emergency services; therefore, red and blue being the best choice of color to recognize an international holiday.
Saint Florian, the patron saint of firefighters, is also another symbolic element to International Firefighters' Day. St. Florian was a patron from Noricum, Rome in 300 AD, who was said to be one of the first commanding fire fighters of an actual battalion. As legend states, St. Florian saved an entire village engulfed in flames using just a single bucket of water. Legend also states, because of this act St. Florian is known as the protector of those who have come in danger of fire. The duties St. Florian performed for his province are the same duties that fire fighters around the world perform every day—with the same dedication and braveries
We take today to not only thank all of the firefighters currently risking their lives to save ours, but to the many fallen heroes that have perished in the line of duty. We ask everyone to keep them in their thoughts today and honor these heroes. We also ask everyone to visit the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation for more information on International Firefighter’s Day and how you can help honor the heroes and the families of our fallen firefighters.