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Ever since I was a little boy, I've always been fascinated by my personal experiences with my own home town parades. And in those parades, there always seemed to be a fire service presence. Be it apparatus, uniformed personnel, flags, banners, ect., .... something.

There seems to be a long standing tradition of fire service participation in the St. Patricks Day parade in the North American fire service, for generations. Whether you go to any of the big city St. Patricks parades, or the small town St. Pattys parades around the country, you'll see some form of fire department representation.

When the Irish immigrated to the United States, they were initially discriminated against. Back in those days, it was not uncommon to see a store front sign hanging in the window: "NINA" (No Irish Need Apply) ... So predominately the only jobs that the Irish could get, were the dirty dangerous jobs that not many others wanted. (Cops / Firemen)

The Shamrock seems to have always been somewhat a sign of "Good Luck". You'll see Shamrock decals on the back of firefighter helmets. So too, will you see them on the trucks and the beads around a uniformed firefighters neck as they're marching in the St. Patricks parade.

I've been in the fire service for 24 years now, and in the last couple of years, I've decided to start up our own local fire service parade here in South Florida. In a short amount of time it seems to be growing exponentially each year. We're putting things into this parade that either have never been done before, or you just don't see on such a large scale, anywhere else.

If there were ever a time in our country, and other countries, where the fire service could be relied upon to use their equipment, apparatus, and uniforms to help assist the communities by bringing back and / or holding onto the traditional memories of seeing the fire service in their home town parades, and thus instilling a sense of stability in these unstable times, now is that time.

The image of a multitude of fire service uniforms, patches, flags, apparatus, ect., representing towns, cities, counties, states, and countries - all interwoven as a mosaic patchwork quilt display of "Community Unity", on one street, on one day, is priceless. And it's the fire service that's bringing it to them.

We're here to help. Always have been. Always will be.

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The Fire Service is about what our name says SERVICE and participating in parades is all about service! I will be joining John and our brothers and sisters in Florida then heading up to join in the Indy parade celebrations! Join the parade in your community! Let us know where and when you are marching!
Hey John, please add a comment about everything that is happening in your parade! It is an outstanding story and a wonderful model for all of us.


Bobby Halton said:
Hey John, please add a comment about everything that is happening in your parade! It is an outstanding story and a wonderful model for all of us.
Thank you Chief. Not only for accepting our invitation to come and march with us in the parade of parades, but also for the opportunity to share the experience and information with other firefighters across the country, and other countries here on the Fire Engineering website.

This years 42nd Annual Delray Beach - International Fire Service - St. Patricks Parade had uniformed firefighters representing fire departments from California to New York and down the East coast to all of Florida. Firefighters from Canada and Australia were also in attendance, and we had the entire Dublin Ireland Fire Brigade Pipe Band come, march and play with us in the parade. (Below you'll see a short U-Tube video clip of this)

We had ten ladder trucks from ten different fire departments, paired up in two's with each ladder team hanging 20' X 30' flags, for a total of five flags across the parade street. The Muscular Dystrophy Association graciously accepted out invitation to have 13 year old Trenton Kirchfeld be our parade grand marshal, and he led the parade in his wheel chair with two Class-A uniformed firefighters carrying his banner our in front of him, introducing him to the record crowd of 85,000 spectators.

We had multi-agency fire service honor guards, Color guards, Bagpipers, Drummers, uniformed rank and file firefighters, certified fire safety clowns, firefighters on motorcycles, wearing their fire helmets - as one large pack, antique apparatus, front line apparatus, Dalmatian dogs galore, Combat Challenge Teams and other speciality teams, Division of Forestry flat bead carried bull dozier, Fire Rescue - Everglades assigned and trailored Airboat, you name it in the fire service, we had it.

The Good Year Blimp was booked to fly over the parade with "Good Year Salutes Firefighters" on the jumbo-tron screen, but it was way too windy that day. They're back in it again for next year, and they'll have 6 passenger seats available for media photographers to "Aerial video" the parade, and get still shot aerial photographs of the ten ladder trucks on the flag hanging detail. There will be a host hotel hospitality room and services courtesy of the Palm Beach County F.O.O.L.S., pre-parade parties, and post parade parties, live band concerts, Randolph Mantooth will be on hand at the parade for autographs / photographs (Johnny Gage from the 70's hit show EMERGENCY), and a few other celebs have been invited as well. For more information, anyone can access the parade information section on our union website: http://www.iaff2928.com where you can also download / print a parade info flier for fire house bulletin boards. ... Also look for us on Facebook. The three U-Tube video links are:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXA_RIIvw1Y

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhiZJgYv1IY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWgg3bm9TLU&NR=1



John Fischer said:


Bobby Halton said:
Hey John, please add a comment about everything that is happening in your parade! It is an outstanding story and a wonderful model for all of us.
Getting ready to do it all again this coming March 12th, 2011. Palm Beach County Firefighters are sending a global invitation to all firefighters to come and march in what's rapidly shaping up to be the mother of all fire service parades. For more information on airports, hotels, local transportation, locations, staging areas, and all other parade participation support information, please visit the parade information section at: http://www.iaff2928.com ... And please spread the word. Thanks

John Fischer said:
Thank you Chief. Not only for accepting our invitation to come and march with us in the parade of parades, but also for the opportunity to share the experience and information with other firefighters across the country, and other countries here on the Fire Engineering website.

This years 42nd Annual Delray Beach - International Fire Service - St. Patricks Parade had uniformed firefighters representing fire departments from California to New York and down the East coast to all of Florida. Firefighters from Canada and Australia were also in attendance, and we had the entire Dublin Ireland Fire Brigade Pipe Band come, march and play with us in the parade. (Below you'll see a short U-Tube video clip of this)

We had ten ladder trucks from ten different fire departments, paired up in two's with each ladder team hanging 20' X 30' flags, for a total of five flags across the parade street. The Muscular Dystrophy Association graciously accepted out invitation to have 13 year old Trenton Kirchfeld be our parade grand marshal, and he led the parade in his wheel chair with two Class-A uniformed firefighters carrying his banner our in front of him, introducing him to the record crowd of 85,000 spectators.

We had multi-agency fire service honor guards, Color guards, Bagpipers, Drummers, uniformed rank and file firefighters, certified fire safety clowns, firefighters on motorcycles, wearing their fire helmets - as one large pack, antique apparatus, front line apparatus, Dalmatian dogs galore, Combat Challenge Teams and other speciality teams, Division of Forestry flat bead carried bull dozier, Fire Rescue - Everglades assigned and trailored Airboat, you name it in the fire service, we had it.

The Good Year Blimp was booked to fly over the parade with "Good Year Salutes Firefighters" on the jumbo-tron screen, but it was way too windy that day. They're back in it again for next year, and they'll have 6 passenger seats available for media photographers to "Aerial video" the parade, and get still shot aerial photographs of the ten ladder trucks on the flag hanging detail. There will be a host hotel hospitality room and services courtesy of the Palm Beach County F.O.O.L.S., pre-parade parties, and post parade parties, live band concerts, Randolph Mantooth will be on hand at the parade for autographs / photographs (Johnny Gage from the 70's hit show EMERGENCY), and a few other celebs have been invited as well. For more information, anyone can access the parade information section on our union website: http://www.iaff2928.com where you can also download / print a parade info flier for fire house bulletin boards. ... Also look for us on Facebook. The three U-Tube video links are:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXA_RIIvw1Y

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhiZJgYv1IY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWgg3bm9TLU&NR=1



John Fischer said:


Bobby Halton said:
Hey John, please add a comment about everything that is happening in your parade! It is an outstanding story and a wonderful model for all of us.
John- Sounds exciting, We do not get to do to many here , Memorial Day, Conventions [ which are few and far between] , The kids love to see Fire Turcks . Good Luck
Mike, if you have the chance, come be a part of this parade. We have a different fire department leading it each year, and it's set up as an "International Fire Service Parade" .... The message here is that it's not a "Delray Beach Parade" .... It's not a "Palm Beach County Parade" ..... It's a global fire service parade. And we want everyone to feel that they own a piece of it. (Pride and Ownership) ..... You speak of children. This years parade we contacted the school board superintendent of Palm Beach County and told him what all was going into the parade, and that part of it would be a large column of uniformed, organized, disciplined firefighters marching together in unison as a team. Wrapping it up with the very last sentence: "Children need to see this." .... He put out an internal press release within the school board, (Parents, Teachers, Faculty) and the end product of that was, we never saw so many kids on the parade sidelines in this parades 42 year history. It was truly phenominal.

The city of Delray Beach has a post event analysis that they do after each major event in the city. This includes all of the department heads of the city and the event organizer. In the post parade analysis after this years parade, the chief of police advised that this years parade was the most well behaved parade ever. Not one arrest, not one citation.

I am quite proud to be able to say that I truly believe that the subconscious / subliminal visual of a very large column of blue uniforms marching in step / in order / disciplined, down the parade street, was one of authority. (Behave yourself) ...... Couldn't think of a better subliminal message to convey to our youth now a days.

Chief Halton adds a very good message to this thread. If you can't be part of the Delray Beach International Fire Service Parade on Saturday March 12th, 2001 ... then either try to participate in your own home town parade, or start one up yourself if you can. And there's my first tip for you if you're entertaining the idea of starting up your own fire service parade ..... Get your school board superintendent involved with getting the information out to our youth in the community. They need to see this. For a multitude of good reasons. Be safe. and Hope to see you in Delray Beach in March, hope to see you at FDIC right after.

Mike France said:
John- Sounds exciting, We do not get to do to many here , Memorial Day, Conventions [ which are few and far between] , The kids love to see Fire Turcks . Good Luck
Believe me if i could i would John , Don't think our Baord would go for a trip to Florida, But thanks for the Invite




John Fischer said:
Mike, if you have the chance, come be a part of this parade. We have a different fire department leading it each year, and it's set up as an "International Fire Service Parade" .... The message here is that it's not a "Delray Beach Parade" .... It's not a "Palm Beach County Parade" ..... It's a global fire service parade. And we want everyone to feel that they own a piece of it. (Pride and Ownership) ..... You speak of children. This years parade we contacted the school board superintendent of Palm Beach County and told him what all was going into the parade, and that part of it would be a large column of uniformed, organized, disciplined firefighters marching together in unison as a team. Wrapping it up with the very last sentence: "Children need to see this." .... He put out an internal press release within the school board, (Parents, Teachers, Faculty) and the end product of that was, we never saw so many kids on the parade sidelines in this parades 42 year history. It was truly phenominal.

The city of Delray Beach has a post event analysis that they do after each major event in the city. This includes all of the department heads of the city and the event organizer. In the post parade analysis after this years parade, the chief of police advised that this years parade was the most well behaved parade ever. Not one arrest, not one citation.

I am quite proud to be able to say that I truly believe that the subconscious / subliminal visual of a very large column of blue uniforms marching in step / in order / disciplined, down the parade street, was one of authority. (Behave yourself) ...... Couldn't think of a better subliminal message to convey to our youth now a days.

Chief Halton adds a very good message to this thread. If you can't be part of the Delray Beach International Fire Service Parade on Saturday March 12th, 2001 ... then either try to participate in your own home town parade, or start one up yourself if you can. And there's my first tip for you if you're entertaining the idea of starting up your own fire service parade ..... Get your school board superintendent involved with getting the information out to our youth in the community. They need to see this. For a multitude of good reasons. Be safe. and Hope to see you in Delray Beach in March, hope to see you at FDIC right after.

Mike France said:
John- Sounds exciting, We do not get to do to many here , Memorial Day, Conventions [ which are few and far between] , The kids love to see Fire Turcks . Good Luck

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