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International Firefighters’ Day 2024 – May 4

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International Firefighters' Day - May 4 2024International Firefighters’ Day (IFFD) is annually observed across the globe on 4 May to acknowledge the sacrifices of firefighters and honour their dedication to keeping communities and environments safe.

  • IFFD significantly honours those who have lost their lives in the line of duty and expresses gratitude for the ongoing dedication of firefighting professionals.

May 4 also marks St Florian’s Day, named after St Florian (250-304AD), the patron saint of firefighters and a high-ranking Roman Army officer.

IFFD Symbol: ribbon (pinned together at the top) is the symbol of IFFD, which holds profound symbolism, reflecting the core elements of firefighters’ work.

  • Red symbolises fire, and Blue represents water.
  • Blue Ribbon over Red; Water over Fire.

ii.These colours are also internationally recognised as representing emergency service.


i.International Firefighters’ Day (IFFD) was initiated to honour the loss of lives of 5 firefighters in a wildfire held in Linton, Australia on 1998.

  • The 5 firefighters were Garry Vredeveldt, Chris Evans, Stuart Davidson, Jason Thomas, and Matthew Armstrong of Geelong West, Australia.

ii.On 4 January 1999, JJ Edmondson, a volunteer Lieutenant and firefighter in Australia sent a proposal to promote the need for IFFD on 4 May.

iii.The first IFFD was observed on 4 May 1999.

Note: The tragedy on 11 September 2001 in New York (United States of America) has only strengthened her resolve to get IFFD internationally recognised.

Why May 4?

i.The date was linked to the feast day of St Florian, the first known commander of a Roman firefighting squad in the Roman Empire.

ii.He sacrificed his life for the ideals shared by firefighters globally.


i.European Firefighters celebrate May 4th as a Day of Fire Service and St. Florian’s Day.

ii.This tradition spans over 150 years, honouring the bravery and service of firefighters.

Sound Off Event:

i.Sound Off, an international event originated in 2002 for IFFD is the sounding of sirens for 30 seconds at noon (local time).

ii.It was conducted to show respect for the dedication, commitment and sacrifices of firefighters worldwide.

iii.Following the inaugural event’s success, this sound-off tradition has evolved into an annual event held on the 1st Sunday of May.

  • This event is followed by a minute’s silence in memory of and respect for fallen firefighters worldwide.

iv.Sound-off event 2024 will be conducted on 5 May 2024.

Related Observance in India:

National Fire Service Day in India is celebrated on April 14th every year to honour the 66 firefighters who lost their lives in a terrible explosion that occurred in the British ammunition ship SS Fort Stikine ship at the Mumbai (Maharashtra) dockyard in 1944.

  • The week following the day (14 to 20 April) is observed as “Fire Safety Week”.