Everything You Need to Know about International Firefighters’ Day
Every day, firefighters put their lives on the line to protect life and property from fires to natural disasters. The unsung heroes dedicate countless hours and run to danger while the rest of us run away from it. It is a selfless act that has protected and saved lives from the damage caused by fire. In this article, we explore the history of International Firefighters’ Day and how to celebrate and show appreciation for the service of our firefighters.
History of International Firefighters’ Day
The day can be traced back to December 2, 1998, when five firefighters lost their lives in Australia as they were headed to put off a massive bushfire. The wind changed direction suddenly, and their truck was engulfed in flames. The event was tragic and shook the whole world. Afterward, there was a proposal to make the celebration annual to ensure an international recognition day for the firefighters. The first International Firefighters’ Day was commemorated on May 4, 1999.1 Since then, it has been celebrated annually in many other countries.
Initially, the day was known as Saint Florian’s Day, named after the patron saint of firefighters, a Roman soldier who commanded firefighters in a Roman battalion and saved many lives. The soldier is renowned for protecting firefighters and is often seen in art holding a bucket of water and pouring it over flames.1
Other fire incidents that have shaped the history of firefighting are the great fire of Chicago in 1871, where legend has it that a cow kicked a lantern and started the fire. Also, in 2007, wildfires started in California and caused over half a million people to flee.2
Why Celebrate Firefighters’ Day?
The purpose of International Firefighters’ Day is to honor the service members who wear many hats. They put their lives on the line, rush into burning buildings and car accidents, or are always there when smoke alarms go off. It also serves as a tribute to the brave firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty.
The symbol of the International Firefighters’ Day is a blue and red ribbon. Blue symbolizes water, and red symbolizes fire. Both colors are a world symbol for emergency services. You can wear the ribbon on your clothes or cap or place it on the car mirror or windows to show your support to firefighters worldwide.
How to Celebrate International Firefighters’ Day
One of the most significant activities of the day is the National Fallen Firefighters’ Memorial Service, held annually in Maryland, to honor the fallen firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.
The day continues to evolve, and more creative ways exist to support and show appreciation for the firefighters. From attending community events to donations or volunteering with local fire departments, here are ways you can get involved in National Firefighters’ Day. Here’s what you can do.
Attend community events
This is the best time for communities to come together to remember the firefighters we lost and also support those who are still in service. Join your community’s events and activities planned to show appreciation for your local fire department. Most states celebrate the day with parades, cookouts, open houses, and award ceremonies. There are also memorial services for fallen service members or fundraising events to support their families and also raise awareness about fire safety. We can also learn to prevent fires in our homes and offices, regularly test smoke detectors, and avoid fire hazards.
Donate to organizations that support firefighters
Many fire departments could use more donations of equipment, training programs, and more people to support the fire safety outreach programs. Several charities have programs that support firefighters who got hurt in the line of duty and families of firefighters who tragically lost their lives. For example, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports the families of fallen firefighters. It provides financial assistance, scholarships, and other resources to help families cope with losing their loved ones.
The Firefighters Behavioral Health Alliance supports firefighters struggling with mental health issues due to their nature of work. Such organizations rely on donations and goodwill to continue with their good work. You can donate to increase the resources and support the fire department.
Say thank you
A simple thank you boosts morale. If you see a firefighter in uniform, just take a minute to appreciate them for their service. You can also visit your local fire department because they always welcome visitors. It is also the best way to learn more about your local firefighting department and find ways to offer your time and support. Bake a cake or your favorite dessert recipes and take them to the fire hall. You can also purchase a gift card from Mother Earth Products and appreciate the fire departments in your area. Our freeze dried products have a long shelf life and come in handy during emergencies.
Volunteer with your local fire department
Take this day to educate yourself about fire safety and the heroic stories of firefighters and share on social media and to your community to increase awareness. Learn how to prevent fires in your homes and offices, regularly test smoke detectors, and avoid fire hazards. Then, use your voice and time to help the department do training on fire safety. You can also join the organizations that support firefighters as a volunteer to help with fundraising events.
We also need to acknowledge that firefighting is a dangerous job, and the firefighters are at risk of injury and illness due to exposure to smoke and hazards. We can advocate for adequate funding for the fire departments and safer working conditions for the well-being of the firefighters.
On May 4th, take a moment to reflect on the bravery and dedication of firefighters worldwide for their selfless service and sacrifice to ensure that the communities and the environment are safe. We may not all have the physical or mental ability to fight fires, but we can honor those who do. Let’s pledge to support our local fire department on International Firefighters’ Day and every day by volunteering to advocate for better resources and give donations to help them do their work effectively.
We appreciate all the firefighters out there for their important role in society and the risks they take to protect all of us. Happy International Firefighters’ Day from Mother Earth Products.
- Branden Evans