The Florian cross. Often confused with the Maltese cross, the Florian cross is what a majority of fire departments use.
Some historians indicate the Florian cross came into existence in the 4th century, and was named after a Roman officer. The Roman army tasked Saint Florian with organizing firefighting brigades for the city. Although St. Florian and his men were not the first firefighters in the city, they were considered the best and most well-known. St. Florian was later declared a saint after he was sentenced to death for his refusal to worship the Roman gods.
Crosses of this design have been used since around the First Crusade in 1096. The design is said to symbolize the eight points of courage: loyalty, piety, bravery, frankness, glory and honor, no fear of death, compassion toward the sick and poor, and respect for the church.