Calgary Firefighters Association

Established 1917 · IAFF Local 255

Calgary Firefighters Honour Guard

Calgary Firefighters Honour Guard


 The Honour Guard represents Calgary FireFighters at many official events, including funerals, recruit graduations, retiree banquets and Royal visits.
They also attend private and community-based functions and processionals and participate in Peacekeeper and Remembrance Day ceremonies.

The Honour Guard travels when necessary to represent Local 255 and the CFD at other important occasions, such as line-of-duty death funerals and memorials for emergency responders across Canada and the United States.

 

How to become a member of the Honour Guard

The Honour Guard is comprised of 40 volunteer members who share a variety of event responsibilities. The responsibilities of a Guardsman can be fairly extensive and require regular practice in order to maintain a high level of professionalism. Once trained and outfitted properly, most Honour Guard members choose to remain as active members for several years, possibly even decades during their careers with the CFD. The Guard can then draw from a consistent group of highly trained members for funerals, graduations, celebrations, etc. without having to frequently train and outfit inexperienced recruits.

Although turnover within the Honour Guard is rare, recruiting new volunteers happens approximately every 18-24 months. A formal callout is sent to all uniformed firefighting personnel within the CFD and is also posted on CFDnet. Written applications are gathered, and applicants are contacted based on operational requirements within the Guard. A brief interview is conducted, and an assessment is done to determine the applicant’s ability to follow basic Canadian Forces drill.

Potential applicants to the Honour Guard will ideally have the following:
  • The desire to honour our fallen members with the dignity and respect they deserve
  • The willingness to volunteer off-duty time to the Honour Guard
  • The interest in experiencing a unique aspect of our careers that many do not see
  • The ability to follow basic Canadian Forces drill
  • No bear marching!
 

Commitment to the HG

After serving a minimum one-year probationary period on the Honour Guard, members will then be outfitted in the formal #1 uniform. This signifies that the probationary member has shown he or she can march, salute, carry Colours and follow basic Canadian Forces drill sufficiently. Most importantly, this shows that the member is willing to attend practices, funerals, community events, and participate regularly within the group. That member will then be called upon to represent the CFD and the Calgary Firefighters Association locally, provincially, and internationally at a variety of events.

There is no maximum time limit for which a Guardsman is considered active - the longer, the better! Many retired CFD members continue to participate in events long after they’ve hung up their turnout coats for the last time. We ask that due to the logistics and expenses that are associated with training and outfitting a Guardsman, new members should be willing to remain active for five to seven years minimum.

 

Contact info

Please contact the Calgary Fire Honour Guard with event requests, questions, or comments at cfdhonourguard@gmail.com.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/calgaryfirehonourguard
Instagram: cfdhonguard
Twitter: @CFDHonGuard
Website:

 

History

The Honour Guard was formed in June 1971, following the death of Lyold Dutnall.

Members with previous military experience recognized that more funeral protocols, drill practice, and structure were needed to give fallen members the respect they deserved.

Their first official function was to attend the 1971 Chief's Convention held at the Palliser Hotel.

 

The Honour Guard uniform

The Honour Guard uniform consists of a formal black tunic with red piping and a red vertical stripe on the pant leg. Nine red stars are displayed on the sleeve to represent the nine Calgary firefighters who have died in the line of duty due to traumatic injury.

The Honour Guard also wears a white hat, gloves, belt and polished parade boots.

Led by a Guard Commander, the Honour Guard carries the official CFD flag and the Canadian flag, as well as a ceremonial chrome axes and swords engraved with the names of our nine fallen.

 

Bell Ceremony

Taken from http://www.iaff.org/hs/lodd/funeralprotocol.html

The men and women of today’s fire service are confronted with a more dangerous work environment than ever before. We are forced to continually change our strategies and tactics to accomplish our tasks.

Our methods may change, but our goals remain the same as they were in the past, to save lives and to protect property, sometimes at a terrible cost. This is what we do, this is our chosen profession, this is the tradition of the firefighter.

The fire service of today is ever changing, but is steeped in traditions 200 years old. One such tradition is the sound of a bell.

In the past, as firefighters began their tour of duty, it was the bell that signalled the beginning of that days shift. Throughout the day and night, each alarm was sounded by a bell, which summoned these brave souls to fight fires and to place their lives in jeopardy for the good of their fellow citizen. And when the fire was out and the alarm had come to an end, it was the bell that signaled to all the completion of that call. When a fire fighter had died in the line of duty, paying the supreme sacrifice, it was the mournful toll of the bell that solemnly announced a comrade's passing.

We utilize these traditions as symbols, which reflect honour and respect on those who have given so much and who have served so well. To symbolize the devotion that these brave souls had for their duty, a special signal of three rings, three times each, represents the end of our comrades’ duties and that they will be returning to quarters. And so, to those who have selflessly given their lives for the good of their fellow man, their tasks completed, their duties well done, to our comrades, their last alarm, they are going home.

 

Firefighter’s Prayer

When I am called to duty, God
Wherever flames may rage
Give me strength to save a life
Whatever be its age.
Let me embrace a little child
Before it is too late
Or save an older person from
The horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert
And hear the weakest shout,
and quickly and efficiently
To put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling
To give the best in me,
To guard my friend and neighbor
And protect their property.
And, if, according to your will,
While on duty I must answer death’s call;
Bless with your protecting hand
My family, one and all.