South Australians are being asked to remember the sacrifice of fallen firefighters as the State marks International Firefighters Day (IFFD) on Sunday 4 May 2008.

Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) Chief Officer Grant Lupton said it is a day in which current and past firefighters are honoured for their contributions.

“International Firefighters Day allows the world to recognise and pay tribute to the sacrifices firefighters make to ensure their community and the environment is as safe as possible,” said Grant.

“South Australia has around 800 full-time and 200 part-time firefighters employed by MFS. Last year they attended more than 21,000 incidents, from house fires to hazardous material incidents, and road crashes.

“It’s timely that we remember one of our colleagues who recently died in New Zealand, and another who is still fighting for his life, after responding to what firefighters would say was initially a routine call.

“It is events such as these that remind all firefighters and the community of the dangers that this profession holds,” said Grant.

MFS stations will fly their flags at half mast as a sign of respect to fallen comrades.

The Country Fire Service (CFS) has around 15,500 volunteers protecting rural and regional communities throughout the State, and last year responded to 8000 incidents State-wide.

Euan Ferguson, CFS Chief Officer said, “Today we think about all those who have suffered or lost loved ones in fires. We give thanks to our worldwide family of firefighters, be they paid or volunteer, operational or involved in community education and fire risk mitigation.

“Good fire safety is a partnership between governments, fire agencies, individuals and families.

“We also remember that sometimes firefighters make tough decisions and take extraordinary risks. Firefighters are characterised by commitment, determination, sacrifice and service to the community. We say thank you and keep up the terrific work!” said Euan.

International Firefighters Day is also known as St Florien’s Day, in honour of the patron saint of all firefighters – and the first known chief of a firefighting squad in the Roman Empire.

The media are invited to a memorial service held at Cheltenham Cemetery, Port Road Cheltenham at 11am, on Sunday 4 May 2008, where an MFS crew will be present for a ceremony at the Statue for Fallen Firefighters.

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For further information about International Firefighters’ Day visit www.firefightersday.org

 

Media Contact: John Foody (Senior Public Affairs Officer, MFS)

Telephone: 8204 3706

Mobile: 0419 829114