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I just posted a new blog on this subject and posed the question:

Should we should take the same attitude the military does: once a firefighter - always a firefighter - regardless of how they die - and all entitled to the same honors as the next guy - or should something special be reserved for true Line-of-Duty Deaths?

After all, if there truly is no greater sacrifice than to lay one's life down for their fellow man, (the Bible said that first,) shouldn't there be certain practices that are reserved for a LODD?

Furthermore, I bring up the idea of pre-planning and standardizing the formalities we provide to our fellow firefighters.

These are questions that burn in my mind and in my heart.

Please read the blog, check out the matrix I created and let me know what you think.

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Replies to This Discussion

I just finished reading your blog and I feel that you are on the right track. My department (my Chief ) feels the same way you do. There are several levels of Honors depending on LODD, non-LODD, retired,....est. If you do not do this they all start to run together and I don't mean that in a bad way. We as a group need to remember that we are there for the family first its not about us. We need to remember to ask if they need or want us to help first then to what level of help do they want. If all we do is get drinks or we help plan and carry out the whole thing we must always remember that its not about us.
This truly is a touchy issue. Any firefighter that puts on the uniform and goes when the tones drop is a hero... however, does one get the same honors for wrecking his motorcycle with no helmet as one who dies in the line of duty. I have attended and assisted in numerous funerals for LODD, active non-LODD, retired etc. Quite often is becomes a very emotionally charged issue with the deceased firefighter's brothers or the retired firefighter's family. I don't believe you will ever get a consensus. I agree with the idea of pre-planning a LODD. After attending the TCOOO class it has become my primary goal to convince my chain of command to support pre-planning and standardization of honors. Only after conducting three funerals for retired chiefs in the past 6 months has come to their attention to get SOG's in place. I recently completed an extensive SOG drawing from NFFF, the Chaplains Manual, and other departments SOG's available online. We have Level 1-4 funerals spelled out as well as steps in the pre-plan process. Please note these are SOG's and not SOP's so as to keep the flexibility to accomodate the family's wishes. When it comes down to it, the family doesn't care if there is a sea of 2000 dress blue uniforms or 200 blue t-shirts. They care that their loves one was given his/her due...whatever that may be.
Thanks for the feedback Guys -

It's nice to know that (once in a while) I'm not totally off my rocker on some of my thoughts.

This is a subject that is very near and dear to me and I have a vested interest in seeing that we do it right - for everyone. We lost 5 major players in our county in the past few months and its important that they get the appropriate honors they deserve.

Stay in touch. It's great to hear what others are doing.

Stay safe. Train often.
We use the Denton County LODD manual as our SOG both with our department and when we are requested for assistance by other departments. We adopted this document 3-4 years ago and it goes everywhere with us no matter what our obligation is at a given funeral, One of the problems that we have faced is when someone dies that is a VIP in the eyes of the powers that be the funeral arrangements can be made before we are a part of the planning and organization. That is not to say that we get the call late but that when we show up they are already planning for the full meal deal. Because we have no officers and our highest ranking member is our coordinator who is a driver/engineer, it is hard for us to advise chiefs that per the Honor Guards SOG's the funeral you are planning is innapropriate especially after prommises have been made to the family. We definately feel that a LODD funeral should be a full honors funeral and that all others should be scaled back appropriately. We hope that through continued education of all or departments members we will eventually be able to apply our SOG's appropriately for all funerals.
Thanks Jimmy-

That's a great approach you folks use and I feel your pain when you talk about decisions being made prior to your arrival. That can make for some uncomfortable moments. It just helps to remember that it's about the firefighter's first family - not the second one.

I'd love to see a your LODD manual. Please e-mail it to me at: or post it here in another reply so everyone can benefit from it.

Keep up the good work.

Stay safe. Train often.
is their anything online that spells out all the details and breaks them down into different levels?
Brandon -

Here's the link to the original blog I wrote: Near the end of the article is a link to the "Recommended Fire Service Funeral Practices" matrix I created.

By no means is it intended to be all encompassing or a mandatory standard. My hope is only that fire departments will standardize on the way they address each situation, leaving something special to make the honors for a LODD funeral, well, special.

Maybe that will help. Let me know what you think.

Stay safe. Train often.
i thought was a great matrix. and the is a great place to get info. thankyou for doing that
I'm glad you found it helpful Brandon -

Please remember to share anything you come up with.

Stay safe. Train often.
I read your blog and could not agree with you more on the part of Pre-planning. In my department we do mainly services for our retired folks. Thank the Lord we have not had a LODD in our department in close to 50 years. You can never predict a death, although sometime you know when one is near due to illness and the such. One thing we do in my department to Pre-Plan is have every retiree when they leave is fill out a "Funeral service request form". They sometime look at our pension girl funny when she talks to them about this but it has really helped in several cases. The form they fill out when they retire is a simple form that lets us know how involved they want the Honor Guard and Fire Department in the event of there death. The form has check boxes that range from No participation, to only having Honor Guards at the servce to post at the door, registery etc, to full Honors. We have found it easier to have this in hand, when a member dies we can go to the family and say, "Your husband when he retired said he wanted the Honor Guard to be his pall bearrers, is this something that you would still like us to do for you. Most of the time the family is not aware of what there husband/father/wife wanted as far as Fire Department participation at their funeral service. Also having the type of service you offer goes a long way in the Pre-Planning process because everyone knows who gets what level of service.


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