The day is particularly poignant for residents on Eyre Peninsula, who lost two volunteer firefighters during the January 11th bushfire.

South Australian Country Fire Service volunteers will be amongst millions of fire fighters around the world who will be honoured to mark the 7th annual International Firefighters Day.

The public is being encouraged to support the day and recognize the efforts of the firefighters both in South Australia and across the globe who have died in the line of duty.

Country Fire Service chief officer Euan Ferguson told ABC Local Radio

“Today we commemorate the sacrifice of all firefighters worldwide. It’s a reminder that every time our firefighters go out on a job and be that a road crash, a chemical spill or a bushfire, they do face inherent risks.

“They make a tremendous commitment to protect the community, they make tremendous sacrifice of time, and occasionally they put their lives on the line.

This is the case of two much-loved men of the Eyre Peninsula, Neil ‘Pee-Wee’ Richardson the original Cockaleechie Kid and Trent ‘Wig’ Murnane who lost their lives on January 11th.

Mr Ferguson told ABC Radio that today people should take a moment to remember Pee-Wee and Wig and others who died in the line of duty.

“They were trying to protect the community they live in. They were serving with CFS and it’s a tragic reminder of the sort of sacrifice that sometimes firefighters make.

“Today we remember people like Neil and Trent. We remember all those who have given their lives in an effort to protect their community.”

Mr Ferguson also explained that while farmers who fight fires with their farm units will always be welcomed to assist in putting the fire out, they must remain vigilant.

“Volunteer firefighters are integrated into the community and the matter in which they respond is not the same as the paid firefighter. And it’s quite common that volunteer firefighters loose their lives when they’re on route to the fire or when they’re responding in their own private unit.”

Mr Ferguson also furthered on saying that those who loose their lives while assisting in fighting fires are treated with the same respect as trained volunteers.

“Certainly we would regard that as what we would call a ‘line of duty death’. We are regarding them as CFS firefighters who died serving the community proudly as CFS volunteers.”

In South Australia’s CFS history there have been fourteen people who have given their lives to protect others.

Mr Ferguson told ABC Radio that lessons have been learnt from the January bushfire.

“One of the lessons learnt from the tragic Black Tuesday fires, and we’re working through a whole lot of processes at the moment, will be a reaffirmation and re-energisation (sic) of our safety first program.”

So pause, and remember the memory of those you may know who given their lives to save and protect ours. They have made the supreme sacrifice.


Source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia.