Let’s celebrate Firefighter Appreciation day! Or International Firefighter’s Day, or Nation Firefighter Day!
We all know that Firefighters wear many hats. From the typical ‘rushing into burning buildings’ to car accidents to medical calls.
Firefighters are there for smoke alarms, the ducklings stuck in a storm drain and teaching young and old about fire safety.
There is no Official Firefighter Recognization Day in the USA. Yes- there are a few states that have an official proclamation. But the President’s Office of the United States does not recognize May 4th, or any other day, as a day to nationally celebrate Firefighters.
And here’s a few ways that you can make the most to celebrate and recognize the hard-working men and women that we call upon in the good times and the bad.
When exactly is Firefighter Appreciation Day / Week?
Like I mentioned above… there is no Nationally Recognized Day for all Firefighters in America.
While I don’t believe in Hero Worship – I know in my heart that communities are safer with firefighters and saying ‘Thanks’ for a job well done is important to morale .
Like how we recognize those firefighters that ran into the burning buildings on September 11th and the 343 that perished trying to save the lives of others, and they are celebrated on the First Weekend in October at the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
And it’s why we celebrate other First Responders on other days.
Celebrating Police Officers started in 1962, when President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the same week as Police Week.
And we have Armed Forces day, established by President Truman in 1950, in the same week as National Armed Forces week (and of course, specific days for the individual branches of the military)
Plus there’s the celebration of our important National EMS week, created in 1974 by President Ford.
And naturally there’s a week for Public Safety Telecommunicators (dispatchers) that was signed in 1991 by President Bill Clinton.
Likewise, Teachers have appreciation that Congress declared on March 7, 1980, as National Teacher Day. And we also have National Teacher Appreciation Week on May 3-9th. And Nurses are celebrated on May 6-12th .
As a team, these wonderful people provide a lot in terms of safety, prevention and care that keep our communities running (and there’s way more than this that I could mention, but I’ll keep this short for times sake)
So when do we celebrate Firefighters?
Well, funny you should ask, because there is no official proclamation on record in the United States for Everyday Firefighters (either Volunteer or Career)
We have INTERnational Firefighter Day– but it’s not formally recognized nationwide in the US.
We had National Volunteer Firefighter Day (specifically volunteer) that President Reagan signed in 1984 for August 18th of that year. It did not carry on to other years. Obviously important, as roughly 70% of our nation’s Firefighters are Volunteers.
And Finally, we have National First Responders day, October 28th, that was established in 2017.
I will assume this is an oversight, and as such, I encourage you to contact your representatives and ask them about amending or creating a day to Nationally Celebrate Firefighters.
It’s time that we celebrate Firefighters as equal to other First Responders.
What else can you do to make sure that Firefighters are recognized?
There are a lot of ways we can get Firefighters and those thin red line LODD families the recognition they need.
One big way is to contact your State Legislator (find them here!)
And another big way is to contact Influencers, Media, and Organizations to ask them to share and support this cause.
Ways to Celebrate Firefighters
Let them know you care
Mail a Thank you Card, a Letter of Appreciation or publish a thank you in the local newspaper or digital magazine.
Swing by (if you can)
If you’re more of the physical gift giver, consider gifts that are presealed (for safety) as opposed to homemade cookies. I’m sure your cookies are delicious, but some stations won’t take homemade treats out of caution.
Put your lights on the evening of May 4th in remembrance of fallen firefighters.
Give em some of that ‘t’ and ‘m’
There’s a lot that you can donate in appreciation for Firefighters. Consider donating to a local charity they support like Fill the Boot, or donate money to the Union for more equipment.
Also consider donating your time. Call them up and see where they might need assistance.
Help them, help you
Firefighters certainly don’t do it for the glory (obviously- they don’t even have an official day for some).
So a great way to help Firefighters is to stay up to date on Fire safety.
Make sure to change your batteries in your smoke detector, talk to your family about an evacuation plan and let your local station know if you have special needs in case there is every an emergency.
But really though
The best thing about kindness is that it’s free. You can find so many ways that you can thank firefighters in person, through distance or totally online!
Goodies bags, to thank you cards, to just waving at them as they pass by.