How to Design Your Very Own Fire Department Challenge Coins

Fire departments house the brave men and women that help save lives all across America. Here’s how you can design fire department challenge coins today.

If you’ve decided to create a challenge coin for your fire department, then you’ve come to the right place.

It’s important that the design represents your unique organization as well as inspires solidarity among your firefighters.

Fire departments are one of the first organizations to adopt challenge coins from the military. We believe these special mementos are more than just simple keepsake items but a representation of so much more.

Fire departments house the brave men and women that help save lives all across America. Here’s how you can design fire department challenge coins worthy of your firefighters today.

Why Create Fire Department Challenge Coins?

The tradition of challenge coins in the military and the pride they represent is a perfect match for the dedication to service to others that firefighters embody. Designing a challenge coin is one of the ways fire departments have been able to show their firefighters that they are part of something greater.

This group of heroes who volunteer to heed the call of duty is committed to rescuing those in danger. The challenge coin, although a small token, has become a priceless symbol of the risks they take every day and the immense gratitude that is felt for their service.

With so much weighing on this small, but powerful coin, the design for your fire department challenge coin can’t be rushed.

Find Your Perfect Symbol

Firefighting has a rich history and along with that includes a number of symbols that invoke pride. Take for example the Maltese Cross. This is one of the most common symbols found on firefighter challenge coins.

The eight-pointed Maltese Cross dates back tot he Crusades and is often used today as a symbol for the courage that firefighters stand for.

You might also consider a “scramble” of classic fire rescue tools which is another element used in firefighting logos and imagery. An arrangement of classic fire rescue tools such as axes, ladders, or a helmet, represents the preparedness of your team for anything.

Lastly, you may want to use a Dalmation if appropriate for your firefighting team. Dalmations have long been seen as the companions and mascots of firehouses. They were used in older times to calm the horses pulling fire wagons towards a blazing building.

Bold Colors

When choosing colors for your fire department’s challenge coin, you might want to go with a traditional red. This is an iconic color for fire stations and is also a bold choice for your coin.

Fire Department Challenge Coins

Keep in mind that your challenge coin has two sides. You may want to make “fire engine red” the color of one side and then choose another color to represent your team on the other.

The color of your coin can truly make it unique and stand apart from challenge coins made by other fire departments. You don’t have to choose a lot of colors to make a bold statement. In fact, when it comes to color choice, sometimes less is more.

Make It Your Own

Once you have a basic design in mind it might be fun to create elements of the coin that reflect personal mementos of your team. This could even be an inside joke or local monuments and familiar landmarks.

The New York City fire department included the Empire State Building on their coins, making it easily distinguishable from other fire departments.

Your team may even specialize in certain skills that you want to highlight on the coin. This could be handling hazardous materials or other areas of expertise that your unit is proud of. 

What mascot best represents your fire department? This could be an animal, character, or statue that is recognizable to your organization. It can be either serious or fun depending on what you feel would be appropriate.

Some fire departments will use pictures of a local firehouse, fire engine, or a firefighter in full gear on their challenge coin design. This is your challenge coin to share, so you can make it as unique as you want.

Tell Your Story

Fire Department Challenge Coin

It’s always nice to add a special phrase or motto to your challenge coin. It’s simple to add the name of your station but including a quote or saying that is significant to your team can make it extra special.

Challenge coins are meant to motivate and be reminders of being a proud member of the team. Finding the perfect words during difficult times is part of what makes challenge coins so powerful.

This could be the philosophy of your organization, a particular role, or words to live by. While the imagery is a major part of the design, the words used can be just as impactful.

If you’re not sure where to begin, there are plenty of ready-made designs that can help get you started.

Work With Your Team

There’s no better way to create something your firefighters can be proud of than involving them in the process. Open up a discussion with members of your organization to hear what they would want to see on the challenge coin. 

This can not only help you gather up ideas but will also make them feel part of the process. Then they’ll be extra proud to show off the final results.

You might want to limit the options to a few choices and have them vote on the final design. Otherwise, it could get overwhelming trying to meet everyone’s expectations. Luckily, challenge coin producers will often provide graphic designers to work with you to make your final design the best it can be.

Ready to Get Started?

Whether you are ready to go or still struggling to get started on your fire department challenge coins, we can help.

Our variety of challenge coin designs and options will help you begin the process of creating the perfect coin for your indispensable team. 

Head on over to our site for more information on creating your challenge coins today.

For Your Hero: Firefighter Gifts

You breathe a sigh of relief because he’s home safe again.

It feels like you’ve been holding your breath since he left—hours ago.

You thought it might get easier as time went on but it didn’t. Every time he gets called to a fire, you worry he might not come back.

And how could you not?

Our firemen and women put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. They run into the flames while everyone else runs the other way.

So whether it’s a firefighter friend’s birthday, anniversary with your firefighter partner, or just a regular Tuesday, show the firefighter in your life how much you appreciate them with one of these great firefighter gifts.

Gifts with a Practical Element

Duffle Bag

The fire station is often a firefighter’s home away from home. A custom firefighter duffle bag is the perfect gift to ensure that your firefighter has all the essentials when he or she is on duty.

Tool Roll Made from Retired Fire Hose

Okay, we have to admit, this is not the only gift on this list that is made from an old fire hose. I mean, in this day an age, with the importance of reusing and recycling, a gift like this is sure to be a winner.

It’s safe to say your firefighter may already be set when it comes to tools, they probably already have plenty. But do they have a cool place to store them? Probably not!

That’s where the tool roll comes in. It’s practical and eco-friendly—hard to beat that!

Travel Mug

Living life so that you’re ready to go at the drop of a hat makes for a lot of half-finished mugs of coffee.

Keep your firefighter’s coffee tank full and avoid wasting the good stuff by giving your firefighter the gift of an insulated travel mug.

You’ve got the freedom to personalize them, and there are some mugs that claim to keep your drinks hot for up to 30 hours! That’s plenty of time to enjoy your cup o’ Joe, on duty or off.

Personalized Paracord Bracelet

If their choice of profession is any indication of their personality, it’s safe to say your firefighter loves adventure.

What better way to make sure they’re always prepared—whatever adventure they may embark upon—than the gift of a Paracord bracelet?

Some bracelets are essentially mini-survival kits with a compass and a loud whistle to help them find their way should they lose their way.

Fire Hose Toiletry Bag

Remember how I talked about loving the retired fire hose gift ideas? Well, here’s another one.

Having a home away from home means always making sure you’ve got the tools to stay fresh. Your firefighter needs to be able to start their day with a fresh face and clean teeth.

And where do they keep these essential tools when they’re on-call at the station? In their new fire hose wash bag!

Firefighter Gifts That Are Plain Fun

Upcycled Bottle Opener

Sticking to our recycled theme, this antique fire hose nozzle has been turned into a bottle opener, and it is exactly what your firefighter needs in his or her life.

Fire Hose Can Coolers

Can’t stop, won’t stop this upcycle train!

Keep your firefighter’s drink nice and cool on a hot summer’s day with some can coolers made from decommissioned fire hoses.

Home Décor

There are a plethora of firefighting-themed items to decorate a firefighter’s home and garden.

From hard-hat clocks to shelves in the shape of fire escapes, you’re sure to find something to make your firefighter smile.

If your firefighter enjoys being out in the garden, there is no shortage of garden gnomes out there to keep him or her company.

Fire Hose Belt

If your firefighter needs a bit of help to keep their pants from drooping, give them a belt made from an old fire hose!

It’s got a practical element but also makes quite the fashion statement. 

Gifts That Tug at the Heartstrings

Personalized Keyring and Necklace Pair

If you’re feeling a little more sentimental, go for a gift that you and your firefighter can always keep close at hand.

The pair consists of a keyring with a sweet personal message on it and a hole in the shape of the Maltese Cross and a Maltese Cross-shaped necklace to fill the hole in the keyring.

It’s the perfect reminder of how much you appreciate each other and just how perfectly you fit together.

Personalized Challenge Coin

If you’re choosing to go down the more custom route, think about getting your firefighter a challenge coin.

Challenge coins originated in the military, but the tradition has now spread to fire departments, police departments, and veterans.

They have grown to take on an even more powerful meaning, as well. While they are still used as a challenge for friends to buy a round of drinks, they can also be used as a way for a person to show they are in need of support.

Whenever they’re feeling low or if they’re suffering from PTSD, they don’t have to let out a cry for help, they can simply pull out their challenge coin to let everyone know they need someone to talk to.

Show your brave firefighter that you’re there for them with a challenge coin.

Show Your Support

The best gift you can give your firefighter is to show them how much you appreciate them.

These firefighter gifts all show that you love and support your firefighter and that you’re there for them when they need you.

Take a look around to find the right challenge coin for your firefighter, and give them the gift of support.