Scottish firefighter who died on duty among those to be remembered
Firefighters and control staff will stand outside their workplaces and sound their sirens to mark Firefighters’ Memorial Day, as they hold a minute’s silence for the more than 2,300 UK firefighters who have died while at work, including Stevie Kerridge, an Aberdeenshire firefighter for 20 years, who died after experiencing a medical emergency while attending an incident on 13 April.
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), will lay a wreath at the National Firefighters’ Memorial at St Pauls, London, in lieu of any larger ceremony during the pandemic.
Mr Wrack said: “Firefighters come into work each day to save the lives of others but, tragically, it is their own lives that can be lost in the process.
“We remember them this day to pay tribute, but there must also be lessons learnt from each fallen firefighter. All too often, their deaths could and should have been prevented. We reaffirm our commitment today to fight for the safety of all firefighters.”
He added: “While many remain in their homes as we battle coronavirus, firefighters continue to show up to work each day, keeping their communities safe. And, as with so many national emergencies, firefighters are on the frontline of this pandemic.”
Mr Kerridge, 49, who worked at Insch Community Fire Station, took ill while working alongside his colleagues. It was believed that his death was not linked to the incident he and his team were attending to.
At the time, local councillor Victoria Harper described Mr Kerridge as “highly respected in his position as fire crew commander”.
She told the local media: “This is going to be a really deep loss for the whole of the community, a big, keenly-felt loss for everyone, especially his family.”
The event, organised jointly by the FBU and the Firefighters Memorial Trust, will also pay tribute to the nine firefighters in the United States and the four firefighters in Italy who have lost their lives during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Wrack said: “This year, we have lost three of our comrades whilst on-duty in the UK and countless others internationally. And we have watched in pain as firefighters in Italy and the United States have lost their lives to COVID-19.
“It is the sombre reality of our profession that, each day, the families of firefighters can never know for certain that their loved ones will come home that night. Today, we remember their bravery and sacrifice. In their honour, we hold this minute’s silence.”
The two other British firefighters who died this year are Simon Kaye, who died suddenly - also on 13 April - after taking ill during a routine day shift at Christchurch Fire Station, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service and Josh Gardner of Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, who died on duty in September last year, whilst undertaking water rescue training.
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