International Firefighters Day
International Firefighters Day is dedicated to the hard-working men and women who keep citizens around the world safe and who come to our aid when we need it most.
History of International Firefighters Day
In January of 1999, five firefighters lost their lives in huge wildfire in Australia. Firefighter JJ Edmondson heard about the event and wanted to find a way to properly honor these and the countless other firefighters who dedicate and sometimes give their lives to the job.Edmondson began an email and letter campaign to gain support for an international holiday that would honor the sacrifices and successes of firefighters everywhere. Within weeks, she had the support and cooperation of the worldwide community and a date was set. May 4th was chosen as the international day of recognition and the first day was celebrated that year. May 4th was chosen because it is the feast day of Saint Florian, the patron saint of firefighters and chimney sweeps. According to legend, Saint Florian used a single bucket of water to save an entire burning village in Ancient Rome. Organizers believed this was the best day to celebrate firefighters around the world.
Local Events and Ways to Participate
Many communities celebrate International Firefighters Day with a global ‘Sound Off’ on the first Sunday of every May at noon (local time). This celebration is a time to feel connected to the millions of firefighters around the world and to recognize those in your own community. To find out if your local community has any IFD events, call your local fire department or government office.
There are also other ways to participate in international firefighters day if your community does not hold a formal event.
- You can write letters and deliver tokens of appreciation to your local station.
- Plan a block party or bring dinner to your local station
- Make a donation to the station or to a firefighters advocacy group such as the firefighters support foundation.
- Encourage children to learn more about firefighters and have them take a tour of your local station.
- Contact a local media source and ask them to include coverage of the holiday.
- Wear red and blue apparel on May 4th.
Show Your Support
This coming May 4, show your support and gratitude to all firefighters around the world by wearing and displaying blue and red ribbons, wristbands and apparel. Blue and red were chosen to represent water and fire, the main elements that firefighters deal with. These colors are also internationally known as representing emergency services. They work so hard to protect and serve our communities and they deserve our appreciation.