It will not be open to the public.
Emmitsburg, Md (KM) It was not held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the National Fallen Fire Fighters Memorial Weekend will take place this year on October 1st, 2nd and 3rd at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg. It is put on by the National Fallen Fire Fighters Foundation. “Unfortunately, the event will not be open to the public,” says Executive Director Ron Siannicki. “We just don’t have a mechanism for people to walk in that day to verify whether they’ve been vaccinated or they’ve recently had a negative COVID test.”
Siarnicki says the family members of the fallen fire fighters will be allowed to attend. “The requirements for family members will be you either have to be vaccinated, or had a negative COVID test 72-hours before coming on campus,” he says. “And that’s where Frederick County Health Department is going to assist us with insuring these people who are showing up who haven’t been tested are tested.”
But Siarnicki says the memorial event will be broadcast on line during the weekend of October 1st, 2nd and 3rd for those who are unable to attend.
This year, the memorial event will honor 216 fire fighters who lost their lives in the line of duty. “103 from 2019, and 113 from 2020,” Siarnicki. “And the numbers are up a little up because we do have some fire fighters that have died as result of COVID,”: he says. There are also fire fighters who died from illnesses after responding to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York in 2001.
The decision to go ahead with the memorial was made in June, But Siarnicki says the Foundation continues to work with the US Fire Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and to the follow latest guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That will help decide if any changes need to be made to keep the event safe.
He notes that this is the 40th annual memorial service. “This is the National Memorial Service for fallen fire fighters. It was something that was mandated by Congress to do,” says Siarnicki. “We’re working with all the agencies that have the most up-to-date, accurate information to help us make those decisions.”
For more information on the event, and any changes that could be made, Siarnicki says you can always log on to the Foundation website at www.firehero.org.
By Kevin McManus