WARREN COUNTY, NJ – Calling firefighters “the backbone of our community,” the Warren County Board of County Commissioners Wednesday night proclaimed International Firefighters’ Day to honor all those who not only battle blazes but also stand ready for storms, accidents, water rescues and more.
International Firefighters’ Day was established in May 1999 after bush fires in Australia claimed the lives of five firefighters in December 1998 as a way to recognize all the men and women worldwide who put their lives on the line and help to keep their communities safe.
“The firefighter community of Warren County truly represents our bravest,” Commissioner Director James R. Kern III said, “Many times these men and women are the first to the scene of not just fires but all types of emergencies or accidents. This county relies heavily on volunteer agencies and many leave their jobs on a moment’s notice to help their neighbors in need.”
“Their dedication isn’t just displayed during times of crisis but as leaders in their communities teaching the importance of fire safety. I am so thankful for the courage and quick decision making they show each day,” Kern said.
“As the son of a volunteer firefighter, I know the sacrifices that our firefighters make and the risks they take to save lives. I am honored to recognize their role in our community with this proclamation,” County Commissioner Jason J. Sarnoski said. “Firefighters convey a sense of community and community service through their leadership and time.”
“Being a firefighter is in the blood, heart and soul of a person,” County Commissioner Lori Ciesla said, also noting she is the daughter and granddaughter of firefighters. “I know the passion and dedication that motivates these brave men and women to run into danger when others are running out. One day isn’t enough to thank you all for your service and dedication.”
The commissioners also recognized the efforts of local firefighters who have been collecting and delivering fire equipment and trucks to fellow firefighters in Alabama, where tornados earlier this year caused catastrophic losses of gear and vehicles. Moreover, many fire companies there are using outdated equipment, which area firefighters are helping to replace with their own surplus gear.
Chief Mark DeVoe of the Northwest New Jersey Fire Fighters and First Responders, who has been instrumental in the equipment collection drive, said Warren County is blessed to be able to provide other counties and states with additional equipment. More than 150 fire companies in Alabama will have been helped by the time the third tractor trailer full of gear arrives there next month, he noted.
“This equipment we’re sending down has been a godsend,” DeVoe said, added that 16 counties in New Jersey, 5 in Pennsylvania and 2 in New York have contributed to the effort.