Weather Moves Memorial Service Indoors

EMMITSBURG, Md. -- The National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service is on the move.

Coverage of NFFF Memorial Weekend 2012

For only the second time in 31 years, the annual ceremony is being moved to Mount St. Mary’s University on Sunday.

Mother Nature is behind the move indoors as chilly, wet weather is expected to pound the area.

The families and colleagues of the fallen heroes as well as others will still be allowed to visit the memorial and the walk of honor. The dining hall will remain open for scheduled meals.

The candlelight vigil Saturday evening will be held in front of the National Fallen Firefighter Memorial as scheduled. People who can't attend are encouraged to light a virtual candle on Facebook.

“We just didn’t have a choice,” NFFF Executive Director Ron Siarnicki said of the move. “We’re hearing this area may be getting an inch of rain tomorrow right about time for the service.”

Siarnicki said contingency plans have always been in place – just in case.

“We’ve done this only once before,” he said, adding that the comfort of the families is always a priority.

People are still encouraged to attend the memorial service as the arena can hold several thousand.

John McGrath, incident commander of the memorial weekend, said on Friday firefighters are easily adaptable.

“The incident action plans are living documents that can change or be modified in a moment…”

Talk of moving the service started Friday afternoon, and those in the command post were getting frequent updates from the National Weather Service.

On Saturday morning, crews were busy early moving equipment and preparing the Knott Arena for the ceremony.

If you can't attend in person, you can watch both the vigil and the memorial service.

It's also possible for you to sign and share memories on the Remembrance Banner.

You also can light a virtual candle.