Fire stations observe Firefighters Memorial Day

Chief fire officer Chris Lowther with crews from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.
Chief fire officer Chris Lowther with crews from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

Fire stations across Tyne and Wear today fell silent to mark Firefighters Memorial Day.

Established by the Firefighters Memorial Trust, Firefighters Memorial Day is an annual event that will take place each year on May 4.

It is under the authority of a Royal Charter and is supported by the Trust’s patron, HRH The Princess Royal.

To mark Memorial Day crews from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, formed a memorial parade on station forecourts in observation of the silence.

Flags at the service HQ in Barmston, Washington, were also flown at half-mast as a mark of respect.

The event builds on two services that are already held annually – a Thanksgiving Service held in May at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire and a Memorial event held in September in London – both of which are attended by colleagues from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

The date is also International Firefighters Day (IFFD), which was initiated from Australia following the deaths of five firefighters in Linton, Victoria in December 1998.

Assistant chief fire officer Alan Robson, of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It is very important to us that we show our support and mark Firefighters Memorial Day.

“It allows us to commemorate the dedication, commitment and sacrifice that firefighters make every-day whilst serving their communities.

“Looking forward to future years, we are keen to develop our plans for Firefighters Memorial Day, making it an inclusive event at local fire stations where former firefighters, next of kin and members of the community will be involved.”

Chairman of the Firefighters Memorial Trust, Colin Levitt BEM, said: “Fire does not distinguish between men, women or children – race, religion or creed.

"Neither do firefighters, they answer to the call and do their duty. Some pay the ultimate sacrifice.”

Fire Brigade Union brigade secretary, Russ King, said: “Firefighters Memorial Day is about honouring the courage and bravery of the men and women in the Fire Service.

“Firefighters understand the risks associated with their job but fully expect to come home safe and well after each shift. Sadly this is not always the case and it's important that none of us forget the sacrifice they made.”