AS PART of International Firefighters’ Day last Tuesday, Bass Coast CFA group officer Damien O’Connor remembered and paid respects to those who lost their lives in the line of duty.

The global event was started by CFA members in 1999, following the tragic death of five CFA firefighters in Linton the previous year, and coincides with the Feast of St Florian’s Day – the patron saint of firefighters.

Mr O’Connor said after the devastating 2019/20 bushfire season, during which veteran firefighter and local man Bill Slade was tragically killed, the bravery of responders must not be forgotten.

“It’s an important day to remember those that have lost their lives in the line of duty particularly, but it’s also important to reflect on the dangers that firefighters face on a daily basis,” he said.

“Volunteers leave their work and families and everything else to go and help look after their communities for no monetary return.

“These people that put their hand up and volunteer are certainly extraordinary people.

“They are risking it all for the sake of their communities.”

Brigades throughout Bass Coast reflected in their own way last week, with some holding informal ceremonies.

CFA chief officer Jason Heffernan said the event was important to remember the 80 CFA members who have died since the organisation’s
inception 76 years ago.

“Every day across Victoria, our firefighters selflessly give their time to serve and protect their communities,” he said.

“Tragically, too many members have lost their lives doing so.”

An annual memorial service for fallen members was held on Sunday, May 2 at the Sofitel in Melbourne’s CBD.

The CFA memorial service was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus, so Sunday’s event also paid tribute to the firefighters lost in the devastating 2019/20 fires.

Following the service, attendees visited the new Emergency Services Memorial in Treasury Gardens.