Firefighters are one of the most courageous and fearless people who dedicate their lives for the protection of people and property. They are tasked with running towards dangers instead of away from it to rescue people from burning buildings and vehicles and are well trained to put out a fire.
In order to honour the work and sacrifice made by firefighting professionals, International firefighters’ day (IFFD) is observed on May 4 each year. The day also pays respects to those who have lost their lives in the line of duty. On this day, people express their gratitude towards firefighters by wearing a symbolic red and blue ribbon badge.
These two colours denote the main elements of a fire fighter’s work and are also globally recognised for representing emergency service. The colour red colour symbolises fire while blue is for water.
History and significance
The International Firefighters Day came into existence after a tragic incident that occurred in Linton, Australia. The incident occurred on December 2, 1998 during which five firemen were killed while trying to douse a wildfire.
After the tragic incident, a proposal was sent out to all countries on January 4, 1999, to honour the brave firemen and to others who lost their lives while performing their duty.
However, the date May 4 was chosen as it is also celebrated as Saint Florian’s Day. According to International Firefighters’ Day’s website, St Florian was the first known commander of a firefighting squad in the Roman era and he lost his life while doing his duty.
One of the main aspects to celebrate this day is fire prevention and the need to improve intensive and thorough training. People around the world express their gratitude by donating money to a charity supporting former firefighters’ medical treatment and wellbeing. Several communities and organisations raise awareness about the dangers that firefighters face bravely by sporting a red and blue ribbon.