International Firefighters' Day (IFFD) is celebrated every year on 4 May to honour the work of firefighting professionals, who work for the protection of people and property.
The day aims to recognise and honour the sacrifices made by professional firefighters around the world who make sure that our community and environment are safe. Firefighters who have died on duty are also honoured for their work on this day.
Firefighters are one of the most courageous and fearless professionals who dedicate their lives to saving people and protecting property. The task of rescuing people from burning buildings and vehicles requires a special kind of training and the day celebrates the community's courage.
History and Significance
International Firefighters Day was instituted after the tragic death of five firefighters who lost their lives while trying to douse a wildfire in Australia in 1998.
Following that, a proposal was sent out to all countries on 4 January 1999 to honour the brave firemen who died in the incident and others who lost their lives on their duty.
International Firefighters Day was chosen to be celebrated on 4 May as on the same date Saint Florian’s Day was celebrated. As per the International Firefighters’ Day’s website, St Florian was the first known commander of a firefighting squad in the Roman era who lost his life while performing his duty.
How is the day celebrated?
This day aims to stop and reflect on the sacrifices made by firefighters. It is usually marked on the first Sunday of May at noon local time each year when fire sirens are rung for 30 seconds. This is followed by a minute’s silence in the memory of all firefighters who lost their lives on duty. This is known as the "Sound Off".
People show gratitude to the firefighters by proudly wearing and displaying blue and red ribbons pinned together. These colours are symbolic of the main elements that the firefighters work with - red for fire and blue for water. These colours are internationally representative of emergency services.