IAFC Issues Suggestions For September 11 Remembrance

Fairfax, VA – The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) provides a possible recommended protocol for U.S. fire departments who wish to mark the annual commemoration of the losses suffered by the nation on September 11, 2001.

The IAFC’s recommendation is a proposed format only, and does not constitute a national day of recognition. Further, the IAFC stresses that such participation is entirely voluntary and should be considered on a community-by-community basis with the input of local law enforcement and municipal leadership as well.

For those departments wishing to mark the 9-11 anniversary, the following ceremony is proposed:


9:58 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time

  • All available fire department personnel assemble at attention in front of individual station flag pole (or central location in front of building).
  • No recommended uniform of the day-up to department discretion.
  • Company officer or Chaplain, if present, may choose to make brief remarks.
  • No badge shrouds or lowered flag.
  • Community involvement is optional.
  • When assembled, maintain silence

9:59 a.m. EDT- Time of South Tower Collapse

  • Station bell rings 5-5-5 (three sets of five chimes each) or 5-5-5-5 (four sets of five chimes each- both are common and acceptable) note-some stations may not have bells, and may opt for
    • Local church bells
    • Sound sirens for 1 minute (check with neighbors for approval)

10:00 a.m. EDT – 1 Minute of Complete Silence

Additional actions may include, if desired:

  • 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 Firefighter’s Prayer (see IAFC Web site).
  • 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.


If a commemorative event is performed, it is recommended that it not be limited to the fire service. Rather, the remembrance of the day should include all the victims of the tragedy on 9/11: fire service, law enforcement and civilians alike, including the families of those who were lost.

The event should not focus solely on the World Trade Center, but should include a remembrance of all three attack sites including Arlington, Va. (The Pentagon) and Shanksville, Pa.

Background Materials
The IAFC has made electronic copies of the “Firefighter’s Prayer” available online at: http://www.iafc.org/faq/index.asp#prayer.

The roll call list of the 343 FDNY fire fighters for those who wish to read the names is available at http://www.iafc.org/pdf/other/fdnylist.doc.

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