(NASHVILLE) – Wednesday, October 9 will mark the Tennessee’s fourth annual “Firefighters Memorial Day” under legislation sponsored by Senator Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) and passed by the General Assembly. The day was set aside to recognize the courageous and dedicated service of firefighters. Representative John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge) joined McNally in recognizing the firefighters for the sacrifices made in the line of duty.
“Everyday across Tennessee, brave firefighters put on their uniforms and report for duty with the knowledge that some day they may have to pay the ultimate price for the job that they do,” said Senator McNally. “It is appropriate that we have this day set aside to honor them and pray for their safety, and to commemorate those fallen heroes who lost their lives.”
“The thanks we owe firefighters cannot be understated,” said Rep. Ragan. “They put themselves in harm’s way when citizens are helpless and most vulnerable. This day of recognition is a small token to say thank you.”
October 9 was first designated as National Fire Prevention Day in 1920 by President Woodrow Wilson in remembrance of the Great Chicago Fire. That fire killed more than 250 people, destroyed over 17,400 structures and left 100,000 homeless after burning approximately 2,000 acres in 27 hours.
There are 350 fire departments in Tennessee and in excess of 19,000 fire service personnel. Approximately seventy percent of those firefighters are volunteers. Two hundred eleven fighters have died since 1876 in Tennessee. Over the past decade, the state has lost 22 firefighters in the line of duty, with nine of those representing volunteer fire departments.
“Tennessee is truly the volunteer state, as evidenced by the number of volunteer firemen who are willing to risk their lives to protect their neighbors,” McNally continued. “This day of recognition helps to raise awareness in our communities of the sacrifices fire fighters make every day.”