The firefighters Maltese Cross is based on a badge given to some members of the Christian military order, the Knights of St. John. The badge was awarded to knights who risked their lives to save their brothers from fire during city sieges.
After the Christians successfully established Crusader kingdoms in the Holy Land, they faced frequent sieges from the Saracens. The Saracens used an early form of napalm against the Crusaders. The Knights of St. John were given the island of Malta as a reward for their faithful service, and they are known in 2014 as the Knights of Malta. The eight points represent the knight's obligations and the Beatitudes.