IAFC Issues Recommendation for September 11 Remembrance

Washington, D.C. – The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) is issuing a nationwide call for all fire departments in America to simultaneously commemorate the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent losses suffered at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.

The intent in issuing the call is to encourage all departments, on a station-by-station basis, to conduct a single nationwide salute to fallen firefighters, law enforcement and civilians alike – and to the extraordinary response of the entire American fire service to tragic events that have changed all of our lives.

The event will be coordinated to occur at the exact moment the World Trade Center events occurred and will be marked by two series of bell chimes, one for each of the towers whose collapse took so many lives at 10:05 EDT and 10:28 EDT respectively.

Participation is Voluntary
It is hoped that this plan will be regarded primarily as a recommendation which still allows each individual department the option to participate or not as they and their municipal leadership see fit. It is also understood that fire stations and departments across the country are of various sizes and configurations, so departments may wish to modify some of the recommendations at their discretion.

Recommended Plan of Events:

9:45am EDT

  • Apparatus roll out of bays, flanking the driveways on both sides.(Departments with a large number of apparatus may want to adjust rollout time, select only a few pieces or have some equipment already out of bays)

10:00am EDT

  • All available fire department personnel assemble at attention in front of individual station flag pole (or central location in front of building)
  • When assembled, maintain silence

10:05am EDT- Time of South Tower Collapse
  • Station bell rings 5-5-5 (3 sets of 5 chimes each) note- some stations may not have bells, and may opt for
    • Local church bells
    • Sound sirens for 1 minute (check with neighbors for approval)
    • 1 minute of complete silence

10:06am EDT

  • Lower station flag to half mast (please check with city or county officials on your jurisdiction’s guidelines and procedures. Fire station flags are the jurisdiction of the municipality who owns the building, not the federal government. Thus, flag protocol in this instance is not dictated by the President.)

10:07am-10:28am EDT
Recognition Service
Departments should fill this time with a short service lasting approximately 20 minutes. Some suggestions include:

  • Read the names of each of the 343 fire fighters from FDNY (approx 10 min)
  • The chief fire officer, city or county officials, local minister or other designated person might speak.
  • Local minister or FD Chaplain recites Invocation or Firefighters Prayer
  • Invite attendees to reflect on all the lives lost on September 11, law enforcement and civilian, as well as fire service.
  • Recognize any line of duty deaths the department itself has suffered in the past year.
  • Perform any specific regional/department/station traditions for services.

10:28am EDT
Time of North Tower WTC Collapse

  • Station bell rings 5-5-5 or church bells, siren or 1 minute of silence, as before.

10:29am EDT

  • Raise the flag (please check with city or county officials on your jurisdiction’s guidelines and procedures).

10:30am EDT
Community Reception
  • After the service, departments are encouraged to invite members of the community in to celebrate those who put their lives in danger every day in the name of public service.

Additional considerations:

Due to the early hour, departments on the West Coast will need to be especially cognizant of how their ceremony might affect immediate neighbors. It is recommended that each station ensure the support of their immediate locale before planning to mark the ceremony with bells or siren.

Uniform of the Day
Up to each department’s discretion, dress uniform recommended. Badge shrouds, black bunting are not recommended. Shrouds are usually reserved for official periods of mourning and bunting is usually reserved for station houses who have specifically lost personnel.

Community participation
Departments are encouraged to invite local leaders and members of the community to attend the service. We particularly suggest the inclusion of law enforcement counterparts, mayors and civic officials, community and business leaders. This should also be a day for your communities to show their support and appreciation if they wish, and the IAFC strongly suggests that they be included if possible.

The IAFC will issue a media alert stating that fire stations across the country will be holding coordinated services across the nation; however individual departments are encouraged to contact their local media and invite them to the service. The IAFC will provide a sample press release for your use which will also be posted to the IAFC website at www.IAFC.org.

Background Materials
The IAFC will make electronic copies of the “Firefighter’s Prayer” available online at the IAFC website as well as a roll call list of the 343 FDNY firefighters for those who wish to read the names.

The event should also be considered a remembrance or an observance rather than a “memorial”.

We all recognize a great sadness in the losses suffered on 9/11. However, marking the anniversary of a tragic event also provides us with the opportunity to recognize the many instances of heroism, bravery and generosity which have reflected back so strongly on America’s fire departments since that day. We hope that you will consider this commemoration an opportunity to stress those positives and our hopes for the future in providing a positive message for all of our communities.

For additional information, contact Lisa Plummer, IAFC PR Assistant, (703) 273-0911 ext. 305, lplummer@iafc.org.

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