International Firefighters Day
Tuesday, May 4, 2021

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. On December 2,  
1998, a tragic event shook the Linton Community, Australia and the world. 
Firefighters in Linton, Australia, a populated region in Victoria, were fighting a 
large bush fire and called for mutual aid. This urgent mutual aid call brought the 
Geelong West Fire Brigade to the scene, not knowing the despair and tragedy that 
was in store. Garry Vredeveldt, Chris Evans, Stuart Davidson, Jason Thomas, and 
Matthew Armstrong all loaded into company’s truck. They were part of a strike 
team and were being sent to help extinguish the flames. As the five headed into 
the hot zone, the wind suddenly switched direction, engulfing the truck in flames 
and killing all five members. This unfortunate incident is what inspired JJ Edmondson 
to bring about an international holiday, called International Firefighters’ Day, 
to support the lives lost and dedicated fire fighters who risk their lives every day 
to save life and property.
Saint Florian, the patron saint of firefighters, is also another symbolic element to 
International Firefighters’ Day. St. Florian was a patron from Noricum, Rome in 300 AD,
who was said to be one of the first commanding fire fighters of an actual battalion.
As legend states, St. Florian saved an entire village engulfed in flames using just a
single bucket of water. Legend also states, because of this act St. Florian is known as
the protector of those who have come in danger of fire. The duties St. Florian 
performed for his province are the same duties that fire fighters around the world 
perform every day—with the same dedication and braveries. On May 4, St. Florian is 
globally recognized and honored and is also known as the day of St. Florian. 
Therefore, International Firefighters’ Day was chosen to be honored on May 4 in honor of 
the saint.


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