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As we reached the 10th anniversary of the formation of the Arizona Fire Service Pipe Band, an idea was hatched regarding the design of an official tartan sett for this organization. After some careful consideration regarding design and meaning, and with some experience in tartan design with the Superstition Fire Honor Guard Pipes & Drums tartan, charter member Nat Erickson came up with a design concept to present to the E-board for consideration. 

He felt the design should incorporate the state of Arizona, the fire service, and honor of our fallen within the weave.



The Arizona flag has a deep blue field with a copper star in the center representing our largest natural resource and representing that we are the largest producer of copper in America. Radiating from the star are 13 sun rays of red & yellow, representing America's 13 original colonies. As well, the rays represent our beautiful desert sunsets and the alternating red & yellow of the Spanish flags carried by Coronado in 1540. The blue field is the same color blue contained in the union of the US Flag.


Designed by Col. Harris, it was adopted in 1917 by the 3rd Legislature.


Historically, fire department wagons, steamers, and then motorized fire engines were painted red and embellished with hand applied and painted gold-leaf stripes, scrolling, and lettering. 

Enormous effort and pride was taken in decorating and maintaining these pieces of equipment. Today these antique apparatus are maintained in museums, private collections, and driven in parades for all to see. The same pride and attention to detail are given these beautiful works of art, as when they were in service protecting their communities. 




The pride for our job and our equipment follows through with pride, honor, and respect given to our fallen members. Because many of the dangerous jobs in police and firefighting could only be filled by Irish and Scottish American immigrants, those traditions and cultures were woven into the job. At the funerals, bagpipes were played, and our members received the highest honors we could give them as we laid them to rest. Nothing has changed today, and we decorate our firehouses and trucks with black and purple bunting when a member has fallen in the line of duty.


Incorporating these three concepts, the tartan sett was designed with 3 red and 2 yellow stripes, surrounded by blue to represent the Arizona flag. Bordering that is a thin copper stripe to represent the copper star. Surrounding the Arizona flag is a strip of black with a purple line, representing the mourning bunting in honor of our fallen. The large stripe of red framed by a thin gold stripe represents the traditionally red fire engines, with the panels decorated in gold leaf.

With the concept created, it was submitted to the board for review, discussion, & debate. Expecting an extensive design and re-design process, the proposal was, instead, unanimously accepted and adopted as submitted, without alteration.

Now the process of solidifying the design for weaving on a loom and registration of the sett with the Scottish Registry of Tartans has commenced.

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