Shropshire firefighters paraded in front of their fire stations to mark the first annual Firefighters Memorial Day to remember the bravery and sacrifice of firefighters who died in the line of duty.
With flags at half mast, firefighters from wholetime fire stations at Telford, Wellington and Shrewsbury observed a minute’s silence along with colleagues from across the UK.
Officers in charge read out the Firefighters’ Prayer written in the last century by an unknown author in the brief ceremonies held at midday on Thursday, May 4th this week.
Shopshire’s Chief Fire Officer Rod Hammerton said “Modern-day firefighters spend at least as much of their time preventing fires as they do fighting them but we must still remember that the job sometimes involves firefighters putting themselves in harm’s way.”
“Memorial Day is the time for us to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice while trying to save the lives of others.”
It was a day where members of the public and the fire and rescue service are invited to remember the “selfless professionals” who run toward danger when others are running away, said Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary and a former firefighter.
“Firefighters Memorial Day is about honouring the courage and bravery of the men and women of the fire service. These are highly skilled professionals who selflessly put themselves in the line of danger to protect others. We owe them so much and this is a day to remember what they give their communities.
“Firefighters understand the risks associated with their job but they do expect to come home safe after each shift. Sadly, this is not always the case. It’s important that none of us forget the sacrifice these men and women have made in order to keep people safe.
“We hope this day will bring comfort and strength to the families and loved ones of those who we have lost.”
Since records began 2,486 firefighters are known to have died while on duty serving their communities and keeping people safe, according to the Firefighters Memorial Trust.
Colin Livett, chairman of the trust, said: “Fire does not distinguish between men, women or children – race, religion or creed. Neither do firefighters, they answer the call and do their duty. Some pay the ultimate sacrifice.”
Top image: Officers and firefighters’ at the Firefighters’ Memorial Day tribute at Shrewsbury fire HQ in Shropshire.