Sault MP Terry Sheehan observes first Firefighters’ National Memorial Day


Sault Ste. Marie MP Terry Sheehan will be thinking of local firefighters on the first Firefighters’ National Memorial Day this weekend. “Firefighters dedicate their lives to protecting our lives and our property. From coast to coast to coast, in our forests, in our urban areas, at sea, or on the Great Lakes, Canadian firefighters continue to risk their lives and health for the sake of others,” he said.

“Firefighters commit their unwavering courage and compassion to the communities in which they serve. Honoring those that have given the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty on Firefighters’ National Memorial Day will be a proper way to show their families that although they are gone they will never be forgotten. It will be a great honor to lower the flag and pay tribute to all.” – Peter Johnson, Fire Chief, Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services

In Sault Ste. Marie, six firefighters have made the ultimate sacrifice over the years. Across Canada, more than 1,300 firefighters have died in the line of duty since 1848.

“I want to commend the government for establishing Firefighters’ National Memorial Day.  Our firefighters play an important role in our community.  They run towards danger and they work hard to keep us safe.  We thank them for their daily effort and we should take the time to recognize them and those that have made the greatest sacrifice.  The City will fly its flags at half mast in honour of this day.” – Christian Provenzano, Mayor, City of Sault Ste. Marie

As a tribute to the career and volunteer firefighters who risk their lives to keep Canadians safe, the Hon. Ralph Goodale, Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, has announced the formal establishment of Firefighters’ National Memorial Day.

“We are very happy to finally see the establishment of the Firefighters’ National Memorial Day. As a department that has lost one of our own members, we truly appreciate the significance of this day and its meaning. Goulais River volunteer firefighter April Hopkin lost her life serving our community in 2002 and this day will commemorate her ultimate sacrifice.” – Jeff Bowen, Fire Chief, Goulais Fire and Rescue

The second Sunday in September of each year is now designated in memory of firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty. The Government of Canada recognizes the dangers firefighters often face when carrying out their duties, and the ultimate sacrifice of firefighters who have given their lives in the line of duty.

”On this day of reflection, I am reminded of those firefighters across our country who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their communities. Sault Ste. Marie is not exempt from this sacrifice, as we have lost 6 firefighters to line of duty deaths and countless others who have suffered illness’s from workplace exposures. The flags are at half mast, we stand to attention and we salute our brother and sister firefighters, who have answered their last alarm.” – Richard Bishop, President, Sault Ste. Marie Professional Firefighters Association Local 529

The Government of Canada is working with the provinces and territories to support public safety officers and volunteers. The 2017 budget commits $80 million over five years, starting in 2018-2019, and $20 million thereafter, for the establishment of a new grant program to support the families of public safety officers who have fallen in the line of duty.