By Jim Dundas, Chair, IPSA Memorial Committee
This weekend is the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial remembrance event. Ninety-five fallen firefighters will be honored. In their honor, 95 American flags that were flown over the US Capital building will be displayed and raised over the course of the weekend. The event takes place at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland. It is an honorable thing to do, to remember those who sacrificed their life in the service of others.
Firefighters knowingly venture into harm’s way to save others. It is an honorable calling, and our dependency on their services is immeasurable. Charging into a raging fire or entering a known hazardous area to rescue someone goes against human instinct to survive – but it is because of the bravery, courage and selflessness of firefighters that many lives are saved every day.
“Firefighters possess an extraordinary blend of courage and compassion which allows them to willingly face tremendous risks to help those in need. “The National Fallen Firefighters Memorial is a testament to the ultimate sacrifice made by these brave men and women. All who visit the memorial throughout the year pause to honor these firefighters and reflect on the courage, sacrifice and strength of their survivors.” - Chief Dennis Compton, Chair of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Board of Directors.
IPSA Memorial Committee
The IPSA Memorial Committee is charged with monitoring line of duty deaths for all public safety officials (human and K9) in the U.S. and Canada. In calendar year 2017, nearly 200 public safety officials have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.
The list of causes is not long, vehicle crashes, gunshots, critical injuries sustained on the emergency scene, heart attacks, strokes and exposure to toxins. But the toll is significant, lost husbands, lost wives, lost parents, lost children and lost friends and colleagues.
While law enforcement and fire/EMS have their own memorials, it’s important to remember that in the emergency services discipline, we are all dedicated to the same mission, the same goals and the same outcomes – the safety of those we are sworn to protect. While we pray for the welfare of all public safety practitioners, this weekend we focus our attentions, sympathies and gratitude toward firefighters who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and their families.