International Firefighters’ Day
May 4 lists the calendar of curious holidays from around the world as the International Day of Firefighters (International Firefighters’ Day – IFFD). This article explains what this is all about and why this international day of action in honor of the fire brigade with its rather serious background deserves a permanent place in the collection of curious world days .
IFFD – A Brief History of International Firefighters’ Day
In contrast to many other curious holidays, in the case of International Firefighters’ Day there is very specific background information about who started it, since when it has been celebrated and why the date of today, May 4th, was chosen. But one after anonther.
The initiative for this International Day of Honor goes back to a tragic event on December 2, 1998, in which five firefighters were killed in a wildfire in Linton, Victoria, Australia. Since the local emergency services could no longer master the situation, the help of external fire departments was requested.
One of these units was the Geelong West Fire Brigade, for which Garry Vredeveldt, Chris Evans, Stuart Davidson, Jason Thomas and Matthew Armstrong also made their way to Linton. The five men’s transporter caught fire there and burned to death along with its occupants.
JJ Edmondson and the IFFD launch email campaign
On the occasion of this tragic accident, the Australian firefighter JJ Edmondson initiated a campaign at the turn of the year 1998-1999, which ultimately resulted in today’s International Firefighters Day. On January 4th, 1999, e-mails were sent around the world to refer to this planned special day. Edmondson’s intention behind this day of action: honoring and recognizing the deceased or for the use of fire departments operating around the world, supporting the bereaved and above all the need for training and education opportunities.
Why does International Firefighters Day fall on May 4th?
Edmondson and his colleagues chose May 4th of each year as the date, precisely because this date is also celebrated as the name day of St. Florian von Lorch (3rd century – May 4th 304) in many European countries. Florian was an officer in the Roman army and commander in chief of a fire fighting unit, which is why he is the patron saint of all firefighters (see also the article on the nationwide warning day in Germany on the second Thursday in September).
With this in mind: thank the firefighters today. 🙂