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September marks the centenary of the central association of Estonian firefighting organizations.
The Estonian Firefighting Association was founded on 6-7 September 1919 at a firefighters’ congress held in Tallinn.
The association united voluntary fire departments, published a trade magazine and recognized the best with service badges. The firefighting organizations’ members were people from different walks of life who volunteered to help their compatriots in the event of misfortune.
As an interesting fact, there were over 10,000 female firefighters in Estonia in 1939. They mainly took care of food preparation at the scene, providing first aid and taking part in prevention. However, in Nõmme, the women had received full training and were able to put out fires side equally with the men. Even the fire truck driver there was a woman – uniquely for Estonia.
The first postage stamp depicts the female firefighters of Nõmme on board a fire truck built at the domestic Laverna metal company. The second stamp shows a volunteer rescuer, helicopter and an Estonian-developed rescue robot at the scene of a forest fire. The corners of the souvenir sheet feature the centenary symbol, a volunteer rescuer’s lucky button and symbols of caring. ”To the glory of God and to the protection of our fellow human beings!” – this is firefighters’ motto, centuries old and still in use today.
As of 2019, Estonia has 117 volunteer fire brigades, consisting of 2,000 volunteer rescue personnel.