May 4 is celebrated world wide as international firefighters day.

On Sunday, May 3 Cold Lake Fire-Rescue held a pancake breakfast, provided by the Grand Centre Lion’s Club, to celebrate the day, followed by a ceremony.

“The date is set aside to remember firefighters past and present that keep the community safe and those that have passed on,” said Fire Chief Jeff Fallow.

100 to 200 people attended the event, to eat and watch the ceremony.

“We’re very pleased that so many residents of Cold Lake came out to support our firefighters and their families” said Fallow, “this is a special day for us to recognize the risk involved in the job we do and those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice protecting our communities.”

During the ceremony, helmets were laid down by representatives from the Ardmore Fire Department, 4 Wing Crash Fire Rescue and Cold Lake Fire-Rescue to honour those that have fallen in the line of duty. The Cold Lake Ambulance Society, Municipal Enforcement and RCMP were also in attendance.

International Firefighters Day has been celebrated since 1999. The date of May 4 was chosen because of its link to Saint Florian, the patron saint of Firefighters. The date has been known and celebrated in Europe as St. Florian’s day for over 150 years, also known as the ‘day of fire service’.

Now it is recognized worldwide as International Firefighters Day. It’s official symbol, a red and blue ribbon, representing fire and water, as well as recognized emergency service colours.

The ceremony gave all firefighters in attendance a chance to think about the decisions they had made over the past year.

“Everyone is a little different in what is significant to them,” said Fallow.

Unfortunately, May 4 was not a complete day of rest, as a fire broke out shortly after the ceremony concluded, as well as a second one that evening.

No one was hurt and both fires were extinguished, although Chief Fallow said they were both grass fires and both preventable.

“We want to remind everyone that open burning is not permitted in the City of Cold Lake. It’s grassfire season and we encourage everyone to limit burning of any kind because of the potential for spread,” said Fallow, “Backyard recreational fires are allowed as long as they are in approved fire pits and used with a screen or grate to prevent sparks. Remember to keep some form of extinguishment ready nearby and never leave a fire unattended.”

Cold Lake Fire-Rescue answered 228 calls last year, making this day of recognition is well earned.

To learn more about International Firefighters Day, visit the website at

Source: The Cold Lake Sun, Canada