Children's craft projects show six first responder badges made of foil and paper. In the foreground, a badge made of gold foil shows an American flag with the date nine eleven written below it.
Photo by Jin S. Lee

First Responder Badges

What is a first responder? How do they help people in times of need? Design a badge to wear in honor of a first responder in your community.


On 9/11, as thousands of people rushed out of the Twin Towers, firefighters, police officers, paramedics, and other rescue workers rushed in to help those in need. These people who are trained to help in an emergency are called first responders. Though 441 first responders were killed on 9/11, their heroism and bravery helped thousands of people survive, demonstrating compassion, kindness, and hope.


  • Pencil
  • Cardboard (consider using a recycled cereal or snack box!)
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Tin foil
  • Permanent markers, rollerball pens, or any writing utensil that does not smudge
  • Tape
  • Safety pin
  • FDNY badge shaped as a Maltese cross with the numbers '847' in the center. The letters F D N Y and images of a hook, ladder, and fire hydrant fill the four cross arms.
  • Two NYPD metal shield badges. One with the numbers '8943' written on black bar and the other with the number 6 written on light blue background.

Left: Collection 9/11 Museum, Gift of Julie McMahon. Right: Collection 9/11 Museum, Gift of the Leahy Family. Photos by Michael Hnatov.


  • Brainstorm a list of people whom you consider to be first responders in your community.
  • Download the badge template, draw one using the shapes of the badges above, or create your own.
  • Draw the outline of a badge on the piece of cardboard using a pencil.
  • Cut out your badge with scissors.
  • Glue tin foil to your badge, or fold the tinfoil tightly around the cardboard and tape the back.
  • Get creative! Think of words, numbers, or symbols that represent one of the first responders from your list to include in your design. Look at some of the first responder badges from the 9/11 Memorial & Museum for inspiration.
  • Draw your designs on the foil using permanent markers, a roller ball pen, or any other writing utensil that does not smudge. Be careful to let the ink dry as you draw.
  • Tape a safety pin or place some tape onto the back of your badge, and wear it with pride!
  • Take a photo of your child's badge and post the picture to social media using the hashtag #911MuseumEd.

Share Your Creation with Us

Lesson Plan: Local Heroes

This lesson plan asks kids to consider who is a hero and how people can show gratitude to those who act heroically in their own communities.

A group of students sit around a table, holding pencils, and peering down as they work. They are deeply engaged in a learning activity.

Activities at Home

Inspired by the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s Activity Stations, these simple, at-home activities offer step-by-step instructions for you to create your own artwork with materials you have at home.

Two girls are engaged in an art activity in a classroom setting while a woman sharing their table looks on attentively.