This week is an important one for firefighters across the globe, with today, 4 May marking International Firefighters Day and St. Florian’s Day.
St. Florian is the Patron Saint of Firefighters and to coincide with this day, and International Firefighters Day, CFA holds a Memorial Service each year, on the closest Sunday to 4 May.
This year’s service, on Sunday 1 May, was held at Fiskville where a Memorial Wall is dedicated to the men and women of CFA who have lost their lives while serving their communities. The wall was established following the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983 and includes 65 plaques showing the name, fire brigade and date of the incident of each CFA firefighter who has lost their life since the inception of the organisation in 1944.
CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson said St Florian’s Day forms part of an important commemoration of remembrance of firefighters, worldwide, who have lost their lives in the pursuit of safety of fellow members of the community.
“This Memorial Service ensures that service and sacrifice of those CFA members who have tragically lost their lives in the line of duty will never be forgotten,” Mr Ferguson said.
“It also allows an opportunity for family members, friends and brigade members to come together and remember those who are no longer with us and is a poignant reminder of the risks in our industry that everyday, people face when they turn out to a job.”
This year’s Memorial Service was also attended by the Red Knights – a social motorcycle group, made up of CFA members.
Secretary of the Craigieburn chapter of the group, Joseph Giarrusso, said it’s the first time the Red Knights have attended the event.
“We thought being firefighters ourselves that the Memorial Service would be a great thing to be able to attend, so we sent two representatives from each chapter – 10 in total – and the feedback from those who attended has been really positive; they were all stoked to be able to be there and felt privileged to be a part of it,” Mr Giarrusso said.
While the Red Knights is established in about 12 countries, the Craigieburn group started the trend in Victoria and in its two years of running, has grown to include more than 100 members. Chapters have expanded to Bendigo, Geelong and Seymour and plans are underway to start up new groups.
“The group is purely a social thing but each chapter also runs their own fundraising events,” Mr Giarrusso said.
“Chapter 1 in Craigieburn has in the past raised money for burns unit at the Alfred Hospitaland there’s other groups that donate for things such as prostate cancer.”
Red Knights also host a Ride to the Hills, with members travelling from Albert Park inMelbourne, to Whittlesea to raise money for emergency service organisations.
First held in 2010, the event was established to mark the first anniversary of the Black Saturday bushfires, with $16,000 raised for CFA and SES stations directly affected by the fires.
Photos by Blair Dellemijn – CFA Strategic Communications.
Source: CFA Connect, Australia