The International Association of Wildland Fire is pleased to endorse the proposal for an annual International Firefighters’ Day on May 4th in recognition of both structural and wildland firefighters who have died or been injured in the line-of-duty world wide.

The IAWF has long had as one of it’s many goals the promotion of wildland fire safety to reduce the causes of injuries and fatalities on wildland fires. As many of you know, our membership magazine has had numerous articles relating to wildland fire fighting safety over the years.

IAWF has also sponsored three Wildland Safety Summits (the first in Canada during 1998. followed by summits in the USA and Australia in subsequent years). It’s a subject that you can’t just give lip-service to. It has to be promoted and practiced every day.

The current push for this day of recognition has been spearheaded by a firefighter from Clyde – Cardinia RFB, Victoria, Australia by the name of Julie-Jane (JJ) Edmondson. “JJ” started her efforts following the deaths of five fellow firefighters from a nearby brigade in a bush fire in December 1998.

Her extensive efforts in promoting this day of recognition have seen growing interest from around the globe. Following extensive communications with firefighters from all over the world, JJ developed the following for this day of recognition.

Please mark the day on your calendars and organise local or regional events. Then remember to actively promote the use of safe firefighting and fire use every day of the year.

When:
May 4th (Saint Florian’s Day). The date is linked to the feast day of Saint Florian. Saint Florian (the patron saint of all firefighters) was the first known commander of a firefighting squad in the Roman Empire. He and other colleagues from the brigade lost their lives for protecting the same humane ideas which firefighters all over the world share even today.

Firefighters in most European countries celebrate their day on the 4th of May as a “Day of Fire Service” as well as Saint Florian’s Day. Recognised as Saint Florian’s Day worldwide, the fire service day has been a traditional celebration for more than 150 years in Europe.

Events could include memorial services, banquets, open fire house days, fund raisers for relevant campaigns, long service and other presentations, and a media campaign to focus attention on the role and activities of firefighters and fire organisations.

Reasons:
For the community to show and support for all firefighters worldwide. To recognise their level of commitment and dedication, remember those lost or injured in the line of duty, to say “Thank you”, and to show a mark of respect.

Symbol:
A piece of red, and a piece of blue ribbon pinned together at the top. The choice of ribbons was linked to colors symbolic of the main elements we work with; red for fire, and blue for water. The combination of the two ribbons pinned together should form an internationally common recognised symbol for emergency services when worn.

Ribbons may be used to decorate trees, car antennas, letter boxes and other display areas by the community to show their support for the day and firefighters.

Charles L. Bushey, Board Member
International Association Of Wildland Fire


Source: International Association of Wildland Fire, USA