Thin Red Line

  • Firehose Flag

    by Chris Harder

    Flag 2.5     Honor, Respect, Tradition and Sacrifice. That is the heart beat of the Fire Service across our nation. In nearly every firefighter there lives a deep passion that drives them to selflessly give and to put their lives in danger for their fellow neighbors. My desire to honor those in the fire service is what lead me to make the Thin Red Line flag.

        My name is Chris Harder, I am a Captain with the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District. My passion for the fire service started in 1991 when I became a volunteer firefighter in a small town in Northern California. From the moment I rode the Engine and experienced my first call I knew I was made for this. Year after year of critical calls gave way to physical injury and what I learned later was mental injury. I came to realize that I was not alone and many firefighters suffer from Critical Incident Stress as well.

         Our department developed a Critical Incident Stress Management Team and Peer Support Group after seeing first hand the career ending effects of PTSD. I have been blessed to be a part of this great team and through the training provided by KLOVE’s Crisis Response Care we have been able to recognize signs and symptoms of critical incident stress and provide the necessary resources to walk alongside them on their journey through the healing process.

         Through my lifelong journey as a firefighter I try to find opportunities to show honor and respect to those that serve along side me. I wanted to create a flag that represents the fire service and has meaning designed throughout it. 

         I choose firehose, both new and used to represent the differing degrees of experience throughout the fire service. At the end of each length of hose are couplings that represent the connection we all have in the fire service family. The weathered, prominent stars represent those that have attained retirement and made a mark in their profession. The Red length of firehose represents our passion and resiliency for the job. The Black lengths of fire hose represents those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and for the ones who suffer in silence from the mental stresses of this profession. And lastly the White lengths of firehose that surrounds each one of the other lengths to represent those who honor families of the firefighters left behind and those that support one another through difficult times.

    Flag 5.5     The flag now hangs proudly in the apparatus bay of San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District Station 31 in Danville, California where day in and day out Engine 31 passes underneath it reminding all of us what it stands for. 

         I would like to thank my amazing wife and our two sons for their love and encouragement. To my crew at Station 31 A shift and to Engineer Fredrickson for helping me design the flag. And most importantly I give thanks to God who has and continues to abundantly bless me.