October 4, 2023

Remembering The Fallen

This week during National Fire Prevention Week, I got to sit down with CSU’s Vice President of Marketing and Outreach, Billy Hayes and ask him some questions about the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Ceremony they hold every year. You can read a portion of the interview below.

You can watch the Candlelight Service on Saturday, October 11 at 6 pm EDT and the Memorial Service Broadcast on Sunday, October 12 at 9:30 am EDT on the NFFF website.

Q: What is the National Fallen Firefighters?
A: The NFFF is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1992 whose mission is to recognize, remember, and pay tribute to fallen firefighters who have died in the line of duty. Over the years, their services have expanded to survivor support as well as firefighter safety programs and trainings, specifically in behavioral health.

Q: What is the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend?
A: Every year, the families of fallen firefighters from the previous year gather in Emmitsburg, Maryland at the site of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial which is located on the campus of the National Emergency Training Center and the National Fire Academy. During the weekend, survivors and families can meet with other survivors to help cope with their losses, as well as attend workshops on how to rebuild their lives. On Sunday of the weekend, thousands of firefighters gather for the service that memorializes the fallen heroes where their names are enshrined on a plaque placed at the memorial.

Q: How does CSU support the Foundation?
A: CSU has partnered with the NFFF at a few levels. In March 2014, CSU provided faculty and staff to serve as facilitators at the 10 year anniversary of the Tampa Summit for which the 16 Life Safety Initiatives were born. This monumental event will help set the course of firefighter safety for years to come and how the 16 Initiatives can be implemented and/or modified. In addition, as a partner, survivors and family members of a fallen firefighter who are affiliated with the NFFF can receive a tuition discount. Finally, we were happy to provide a full tuition scholarship to the spouse of a fallen firefighter. Because firefighter salaries are low, the financial ability of going back to school is challenging. We hope that providing tuition discounts and this scholarship can make a difference in the difficult situation of survivors and spouses.

Q: How can you donate to the cause?
A: Because the NFFF is a non-profit organization, donations are tax deductible. Obviously, monetary donations help to fund programs such as the memorial weekend and survivor programs. In addition to monetary donations, individuals can volunteer at events such as the Memorial Weekend, but also locally at golf tournaments that help raise funds for the NFFF. You can visit for more information about donating and volunteering.

Q: What do you think fire safety professionals want the rest of us to know or take away from this fallen fighters ceremony?
A: Firefighters know the risks of this job and profession. Every day we wake up knowing that our last call could very well be the next call. However, most of these line of duty deaths could be prevented. Whether it be practicing safe habits at home and work of which would eliminate many fires that we respond too, as well as supporting your local fire departments to acquire critical equipment and training that is needed to their jobs. Just know that there are brave men and women who gave their life to protect yours. Remember them and thank an emergency responder and don’t take us for granted that it’s just a job.