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International Firefighters' Day

International Firefighter's Day (IFFD) is observed each year on the 4th May. This is also St Florian's Day, who is the patron saint of firefighters. Each year, CFA and VFBV come together to honour our fallen firefighters through the annual memorial service which is each year commemorated on the Sunday closest to May 4th. By proudly wearing and displaying blue and red ribbons pinned together or by participating in a memorial or recognition event, we show our gratitude and respect to firefighters and their families everywhere. The blue and red ribbons are linked to colours symbolic of the main elements firefighters work with – red for fire and blue for water.

This years service was held on Sunday 2 May in Melbourne CBD and presented an opportunity for those attending to visit the new Victorian Emergency Services Memorial.

The memorial site, which was completed late last year, is situated inside the Treasury Gardens and honours fallen members from CFA, MFB (now FRV), VICSES, Forest Fire Management Victoria, Ambulance Victoria, Life Saving Victoria and Marine Search and Rescue.

The annual service presents a time for us to come together and remember and honour the 80 CFA firefighters (including 11 from pre-1944 who died prior to the formation of CFA under the Country Fire Brigades Board).

The 2021 service also represented a chance to add an additional CFA firefighter to the honour roll, Phillip McGennisken from Wonwondah Rural Fire Brigade died while undertaking a roadside burn in 1957. CFA has only recently been advised of Phillip’s death in 1957 and his name will now be added to the roll of honour alongside 79 other CFA firefighters. The full role of honour can be found on CFA’s website here. <<https://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/about/roll-of-honour>>

Following the cancellation for the 2020 Memorial Service due to COVID-19 restrictions, the service also recognised the losses during the 2019-20 fire season of three Victorian firefighters from Forest Fire Management Victoria Bill Slade, Mat Kavanagh and David Moresi. Three New South Wales firefighters from the NSW Rural Fire Service, Geoffrey Keaton, Andrew O’Dwyer and Samuel McPaul. And North American firefighters Ian McBeth (Montana), Paul Hudson (Arizona) and Rick DeMorgan Jr (Florida).

The service was also available for livestream on Sunday and you can view a reply of the service here https://livestream.com/cfavic/events/9647685/videos/220636636  the service starts approximately 14 minutes in).

Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) CEO, Adam Barnett spoke about the importance of the annual memorial service for not only the families, friends and loved ones of our fallen, but for all members.

“The annual memorial service is a time for us to come together either in person or in spirit and remember and honour the 80 CFA firefighters (including 11 from pre-1944) who have selflessly given their lives to protect the lives of other Victorians.”

“And while the service is always solemn and reflective, it is also an important opportunity to reflect on our history as we pay tribute to those lost – and reflect on the importance of the work we all do in making our communities safer.”

The 2022 Annual Memorial Service will be held on Sunday 1 May 2022 with a location to be advised closer to the date.


About the Annual Memorial

The annual memorial event honours firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of service and is held on the closest Sunday to 4 May, which is St Florian’s Day (the patron saint of firefighters) and International Firefighters Day.

We wear blue and red ribbons to pay tribute to our fallen. The ribbons are linked to colours symbolic of the main elements firefighters work with – red for fire and blue for water. These colours also are internationally recognised as representing emergency service.

St. Florian is the Patron Saint of Firefighters and was an officer of the Roman army who was responsible for organising and leading firefighting brigades tasked to fight fires when Rome needed to protect itself against fire being used as an offensive weapon in the third century.

On St. Florian’s Day, firefighters, families and communities across the world take a moment to acknowledge firefighters commitment and dedication to their communities and their selfless duty to protecting lives and property.

The Annual Memorial Service is a formal and reflective day to acknowledge and remember those that have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of their communities. It’s a time for reflection and just one of the ways we can remember the lives of 69 CFA members and 11 Country Fire Brigades Board  firefighters (prior to the formation of CFA), who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and given their lives in service to protecting our communities.

Read 5999 times Last modified on Tuesday, 04 May 2021 08:29
CFA Volunteers are the unpaid professionals of our Emergency Services. VFBV is their united voice, and speaks on behalf of Victoria's 60,000 CFA Volunteers.