International FireFighters’ Day (IFFD) is not just a time to recognise those lost in the Line of Duty. Indeed it is important to recognise the men and women in our community who commit themselves to protecting the safety and welfare of our family, friends and neighbours and often, strangers they have never met.

Each year on May 4, people right around the world stop to reflect on the work firefighters carry out every day to commemorate the memory of those who are no longer with us and to celebrate the strength that is evident from being members of the firefighting family. A firefighter’s role can often be long, dangerous, difficult and with little reward. Every once in a while, a firefighter may be asked to do something extraordinary – to think quickly and clearly, to act decisively and to provide help amid scenes of great trauma, tragedy and personal risk. IFFD is a day to thank all firefighters for their extraordinary commitment, exceptional courage, for their selfless service and sometimes, sacrifice.

Some firefighters have served their communities for most of their lives. For some a few short years. But they set themselves apart as model citizens. They set a fine example in their communities. Their willingness and dedication to serve is to be congratulated.

To all firefighters around the world: Thank you. Thank you for your service, for your commitment and for your courage.

Hailing from all walks of life, you are our mothers and fathers, our brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, our grandparents, neighbours and our friends. You help and protect us, without wanting of recognition or reward. In our time of need you are there. Your courage and compassion are inspiring, your loyalty unquestionable. You comfort us with a tender hand; you stand at the face of nature’s beast and fight for our lives and our land. You are the essence of the true meaning of community. You are our heroes.

In 1999 in the initial proposal for International FireFighters’ Day emailed around the world, I wrote: “The role of a firefighter in today’s society – be it urban, rural, natural environment, volunteer, career, industrial, defence force, aviation, motorsport or other, is one of dedication, commitment and sacrifice – no matter what country we reside and work in. In the fire service, we fight together against one common enemy – fire – no matter what country we come from, what uniform we wear or what language we speak.”

Seventeen years later we pause to reflect on the amazing up-swelling of support and recognition International FireFighters’ Day has finally achieved. Dozens of countries, hundreds of fire departments and organisations, thousands of fire stations, tens of thousands of social groups and hundreds of thousands people now recognise IFFD and stop to remember and honour those firefighters who’ve gone before and thank those who currently protect us.

This has been possible because of a combination of social media and committed and passionate people such as yourselves who believe strongly in being able to show respect and honour to firefighters for their dedication, commitment and sacrifice.

This year, let’s continue the momentum we have created:

Share your media releases, stories, memes, posters, photos and videos with the world and our IFFD community via the links below. And, as soon as you confirm plans for IFFD, please share those too so we can promote them!

Website – www.firefightersday.org

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/International.FireFighters.Day

Flicker – https://www.flickr.com/photos/iffd

Twitter – https://twitter.com/IFFD

JJ Edmondson
Founder, IFFD