On Monday, 4 May, South Australians are invited to join the rest of the world in honouring the sacrifices current and past firefighters have made to keep communities safe.

The South Australian Minister for Emergency Services, the Hon. Michael Wright MP says that in 2009, International Firefighters’ Day will be particularly moving for all Australians, given the recent tragedy of Victoria’s bushfires.

In all, nearly 800 Country Fire Service (CFS) and Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) firefighters and support staff spent time in Victoria helping to battle fires in the aftermath of the tragedy.

“The people of South Australia should be extremely proud of our state’s firefighters. They put their own lives on the line in the pursuit of protecting and saving others and they should be commended for that,” Minister Wright says.

MFS Chief Officer, Grant Lupton says the sheer number of South Australian firefighters who volunteered to fight in Victoria was overwhelming.

“Every single one of those firefighters volunteered to help another community and their peers interstate, despite the awful scenes they were sure to encounter.

“On International Firefighters’ Day in 2009, let us remember the selfless dedication firefighters show not just to their own communities, but to other communities and firefighters in need,” Mr Lupton says.

International Firefighters’ Day is also a chance for the global community to recognise the risks firefighters encounter while protecting lives and property.

CFS Chief Officer, Euan Ferguson says the horrifying bushfires in Victoria resulted in a firefighter’s death and a number of other serious injuries in the line of duty.

“Many firefighters lost their own homes, and in some cases, members of their own families lost their lives while they selflessly worked to protect the lives and property of others.

“International Firefighters’ Day is an opportunity to remember our firefighters, and recognise that they too live in our communities. They also have loved ones who make sacrifices so that others in the community are safer,” Mr Ferguson says.

MFS Chief Officer, Grant Lupton says people should pause to remember firefighters who have died or been injured while serving the community.

“This includes CFS volunteer Ian Kleinig and MFS firefighter Scott Pearson; two South Australians who were injured in Victoria,” Mr Lupton says.

Both the CFS and MFS Chief Officers say that each year on 4 May, International Firefighters’ Day is a chance for the community to say ‘Thank you’.

“It is a time to reflect on the values that firefighters uphold in the community, values that include; service, perseverance, empathy, mateship and a commitment to helping their fellow mankind,” Mr Ferguson says.

For more information about International Firefighters’ Day, visit: www.iffd.net

For interview opportunities, media should contact the MFS or CFS media lines.