September Marked the 20th Annual Canadian Firefighter Memorial
The 20th annual Canadian Firefighter Memorial was held in Ottawa on the 10th of September at 10:30 a.m. Metalfab was honored to join the event via livestream, which was offered to those unable to join in person. This year, we honored 89 firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty this year.
Thank you to the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation (CFFF) for organizing this annual event to recognize and remember those firefighters who lost their lives saving lives in the line of duty. For those of you who don’t know, the CFFF is a nonprofit organization founded to honor Canada’s fallen fire heroes; to provide support for their families, colleagues, and affiliated organizations; and to help reduce preventable firefighter injury and death. The CFFF continues its assistance year-round to families of the fallen with its scholarship, funeral assistance, camp faces, and other family support programs.
The Canadian Firefighter Memorial ceremony begins each year by drawing attention to the red ceremonial table where helmets for each of the fallen are displayed. Black helmets are for structural firefighters, yellow are for wildland firefighters, and caps are for wildland pilots. These helmets are then presented to the families of the fallen by a random selection of Canadian fire departments. The fallen firefighter’s own fire service and CFFF members are purposefully not chosen to present as the presentation is symbolically from the entire Canadian Fire Service.
During the ceremony, an extra helmet is placed on a raised pedestal to represent all Canadian line of duty deaths since 1848. This helmet remains from year to year with the hope that no other helmet or cap will join it at the next annual ceremony.
The fire service is always changing, but it is permeated with traditions 200 years old. Two fire service traditions that take place during the ceremony to reflect respect and honor to those who gave their lives to save lives are the ringing of the bell and saying the Firefighter’s Prayer.
In the past, each alarm was sounded by a bell, which summoned our brave fire service to fight fires and put their lives at risk for the good of their communities. When the fire was out and the alarm had ceased to sound, it was the bell that signaled the completion of that call. When a firefighter died in the line of duty, paying the ultimate sacrifice, it was the toll of the bell, usually three rings, that solemnly announced their passing.
The Firefighter’s Prayer goes like this: “When I am called to duty, God, whenever flames may rage; give me the strength to save some life, whatever be its age. Or save an older person from the horror of that fate. Enable me to be alert and hear the weakest shout, and quickly and efficiently to put the fire out.”
Each year, the Toronto Professional Firefighter Celtic Society (TPFFCS) raises funds and awareness for the Canadian Firefighter Memorial with a roughly 550-km bike ride from Hamilton to Ottawa. In the first year, 13 firefighters made the trek. This year, 74 firefighters participated in the 7th annual ride, with a total distance covered of 575 km.
First organized in 2017 by Toronto Firefighter David Cossitt, the Memorial Ride is an emotionally charged event for those who know and love the fallen. Watching the riders ride—wind, rain, or shine—in honor of friends and colleagues who have predeceased them is a poignant reminder of the devastating losses our communities have suffered. There are far too many names on that wall.
As an active member of the fire service community, Metalfab has been a major sponsor of the ride for the past three years. Metalfab strives to give back to the community, and the TPFFCS Memorial Ride to Ottawa/CFFF is a very worthy cause for the company to assist in their fundraising efforts. To date, the TPFFCS Memorial Ride has raised over $400,000 toward the remembrance of our fallen firefighters.
Death and Injury Prevention
Preventing fire-related death and injury starts with the right equipment, and new firefighting equipment is coming out all the time to keep your crews safer. At Metalfab, we are working hard to incorporate the latest technology into each new build to protect our firefighters as much as possible.
If it’s time to bring your fleet up to par with the latest in safety technology, give us a call and we’ll work with you to design a fire truck that keeps injuries and fatalities to a minimum. Call 1-800-561-0012 today to get started.