International Firefighters’ Day (IFFD) is observed on May 4. It was instituted after a proposal was emailed out across the world on January 4, 1999 due to the deaths of five firefighters in tragic circumstances in a wildfire at Linton in Victoria, Australia.
May 4th (St Florian’s Day). May 4 is the feast day of St Florian, the patron saint of firefighters. St Florian was the first known commander of one firefighting squad in the Roman Empire. He lost his life, as well as those of his colleagues, for protecting the same humane ideas which firefighters all over the world share even today.
Firefighters in most European countries celebrate their day on 4th of May as a ‘Day of Fire Service’ as well as St Florian’s Day. This date is also known as St Florian’s Day worldwide and has been tradition for more than 150 years in Europe.
It is a day for emergency services to run events such as: memorial services; fetes, open days and fundraisers for relevant campaigns; long service and other presentations; and a media campaign to focus attention on the role, activities and key messages of firefighters and fire organisations.
For the community to:
- show support for all firefighters worldwide;
- recognise their level of commitment and dedication;
- remember those lost or injured in the line of duty;
- say “Thankyou”;
- and, as a mark of respect.
A piece of red and a piece of blue ribbon pinned together at the top (blue over red). The combination of the two ribbons (5cm long x 1cm wide) pinned together should form an internationally common recognised symbol when worn. The IFFD ribbons are linked to colours symbolic of the main elements firefighters work with – red for fire and blue for water. These colours also are internationally recognised as representing emergency service.
Ribbons can be worn on uniforms and lapels on May 4, on the Sound Off and to mark respect for fallen firefighters. The ribbons could also be used to decorate trees, car antennas, letterboxes and other display areas by the community to show their support for IFFD and firefighters.
Often communities remember human sacrifice through observing a minute’s silence. For International Firefighters’ Day this is recognised in the form of a “Sound Off” – to reflect on the commitment and sacrifices of firefighters’ worldwide in a truly poignant manner for emergency service workers. The Sound Off is held annually on the first Sunday of every May for firefighters to stop and remember our fallen and past members in an international show of support.
On the first Sunday in May at noon local time let us sound off our fire sirens for 30 seconds followed by a minute’s silence in memory of, and respect for, all firefighters who have been lost in the line of duty or passed on before us.
More information can be found about the Sound Off.
IFFD can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr (links on the right) and in Wikipedia. Please follow and contribute to these to help promote the day and spread the word.
For IFFD to continue to grow we need support from ALL areas of the community – and YOU can be a part of it! Please pass on any successes and plans you have via our contact page for recognising International Firefighters’ Day in your home communities so we can add them to the website.