International firefighters day (IFFD) is observed on May 4 in order to honour the work and sacrifice made by firefighters. The day also pay respects to those who have lost their lives while performing their duty.
On this day, people sport a symbolic red and blue ribbon badge. These two colours denote the main elements of a fire fighter's work. The red colour symbolises fire while the blue is for water. The combination of red and blue is also globally recognised for representing emergency service.
The International Firefighters Day came into existence after five firefighters lost their lives while they were trying to control a wildfire in Australia's Victoria's Linton. The incident occurred on December 2, 1998, in which Garry Vredeveldt, Chris Evans, Stuart Davidson, Jason Thomas, and Matthew Armstrong lost their lives.
According to the official website, these five people died after a violent wind engulfed the water trucks in flames. These men had gone out from the fire in order to replenish the water in their tankers. It is after this day a proposal was sent out to all countries on January 4, 1999, to observe a day that honour's their work and pay tributes to those who lose their lives while doing their duty.
The date ‘May 4’ was chosen for the day as it is the feast day of Saint Florian who happens to be the patron saint of firefighters. Saint Florian who was the first known commander of the firefighting team in the Roman Empire also lost his life while performing his duty.