International Firefighters Day 2020: Know about History, Significance, and Facts

The 4th of May is International Firefighters' Day (IFFD). This was enacted on January 4, 1999, as a consequence of the deaths of five firefighters in horrific circumstances in a bushfire in Australia, after a suggestion was forwarded around the world. Know about History, Significance, and Facts

Updated: May 04, 2020 10:18 IST

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Hari Aditya

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International Firefighters' Day

International Firefighters' Day (IFFD) is observed on May 4. It was instituted after a proposal was emailed out across the world on January 4, 1999, due to the deaths of five firefighters in tragic circumstances in a bushfire in Australia.

Reason Behind the Day

On 2 December 1998, the Linton Community, Australia, and the globe were rocked by a horrific incident. Firefighters battled a massive forest fire in Linton, Australia, a settled area of Victoria, and called for mutual assistance. This desperate request for mutual help took the Geelong West Fire Department into the scene, ignorant of the panic and disaster in store. Everyone climbed onto the company's vehicle Garry Vredeveldt, Chris Evans, Stuart Davidson, Jason Thomas, and Matthew Armstrong. They became part of a task force and were dispatched to help in extinguishing the fire. The wind abruptly shifted course when the five went into the hot zone, engulfing the truck in fire and killing all five occupants.

That tragic accident is what motivated JJ Edmondson to bring about an annual holiday, entitled International Firefighters' Day, to honor the lives of missing and devoted firefighters who sacrifice their life to save lives and properties every day.

Significance of the Day

Some of the key facets of International Firefighters' Day are fire safety and the need for more rigorous and comprehensive preparation. Firefighters and their partners across the globe actively promote fire prevention: in classrooms, to the government, at civic gatherings, at meetings, and also within their own families. Training is the best way to keep firefighters healthy and their families safe. 

In several paying fire services, each employee is expected to undergo a minimum amount of necessary training during each shift. Unfortunately, it's not the number you're practicing but how you're practicing. Training also has to be as rigorous and practical as it may be. This goal is one highlighted by the International Firefighters Day. That the need for proper training is one that needs to be met, and therefore IFFD is an opportunity to do exactly this.

Significant Symbols of International Firefighters' Day

The red and blue ribbon is one of the most significant symbols of International Firefighters' Day. This ribbon is cut precisely five centimeters long and one centimeter high, along with the two different colors at the edges. JJ Edmondson selected red and blue as the red depicted the element of fire and the blue reflected the element of water.

Coincidentally, red and blue are both the worldwide accepted colors that denote emergency services; therefore, red and blue are the perfect choice of color that marks an International holiday. Traditionally, the ribbon is placed on the lapel-otherwise known as the cloth fold on a shirt- but is not limited to this specific location.

Some people can even place it on their car visors, caps, hang it in windows or off car mirrors, or even hang it in their front lawn from trees. The positions that can be put on this ribbon are abundant- must be imaginative! The red and blue ribbon is a quick and powerful way to express solidarity for International Firefighters Day.