Editorial comment – Our firefighters

Firefighters in action at a fire scene in Suva. Picture: FT FILE/RAMA

FRIDAY last week was a special day for firefighters around the world.

They celebrated International Firefighters’ Day.

Like their peers around the world, the day was one of reflection, embracing the important role firefighters play in our lives.

Acting CEO for the National Fire Authority Mileta Seniroqa acknowledged firefighters in Fiji, the Pacific and around the world for their role as emergency first responders.

Ms Seniroqa said she was proud of the 501 firefighters around the country who stood ready to serve the people.

She took the opportunity to acknowledge firemen and women around the world who had lost their lives or were injured while fighting fires or responding to emergencies.

Firefighters in all stations around the country participated in community events on the important day.

The role of firefighters received massive international coverage on September 11, 2001 when the Twin Towers in New York crashed to the ground after being hit by two aircraft.

It was a day that would forever be etched on the minds of millions of people around the world.

The event left an indelible impression on the minds of the masses.

It was a catastrophic event of mega proportions.

People who saw the towers crumble, would have that as a lasting memory, forever knowing exactly where they were that day.

In a sense, it stopped the world, leaving millions of people affected emotionally.

The nearly 3000 people who perished that day when the two aircraft crashed into the towers, will be remembered by their loved ones.

New York has been kind on their memories. The memorial on Ground Zero stands as a constant reminder of the horrific scenes that left the world in shock.

The names of the victims are etched on stone around the reflecting pools that sit on Ground Zero in place of the collapsed towers.

Among them are the names of more than 400 first responders, including firefighters.

As people rushed to get out of the burning towers, these brave responders were heading in to search for other survivors.

They upheld their oath as first responders, and placed the life of their fellow man and woman as priority.

They made the ultimate sacrifice, perishing on the job.

We tend to take a lot of things for granted in life.

Firefighters also have families.

They each have values and hopes and aspirations.

We tend to take their roles for granted.

Yet they provide a service that is important for us.

They are in the background always.

But they are first responders, at burning structures, accident sites, and whenever their special skills are required in emergencies anywhere in the country.

Terror reigned on 9-11 but life goes on in lower Manhattan.

Back home, our firefighters may be in the background, silently going about doing their important work.

They are relevant!

They are an important part of our development as a nation.

We take this opportunity to acknowledge them.

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