If your department does not have a formal, written policy for dealing with the death of a department member either through a Line of Duty Death (LODD) or one that occurs off duty, you may not be able to effectively take care of family and department members who need it most during this extremely stressful time.
Assembling a policy is not as difficult as you may think. A model policy has been developed though a collaborative effort by the Washington Fire Chiefs (WFC), Washington Fire Commissioners (WFCA), Washington State Council of Firefighters (IAFF), Washington Firefighters Association (WSFFA) and the National Fallen Firefighters Association through the Taking Care of our Own and LAST Project.
The model policy’s purpose is to provide a model guideline for Washington State Fire Department/Fire Districts and EMS Agencies to follow in the event of a death or serious injury in the line-of-duty. This guideline describes the activities, roles and responsibilities for conducting notifications, assisting and supporting family members, interaction with the news media, and provides a funeral protocol. The procedures outlined are to serve as a guide from the actual incident through the memorial/funeral. In this way, Agencies in the State of Washington can be uniformed in their procedures in rendering the appropriate honors for a fallen member.*
Using the model policy as a template, it can be modified to fit the needs of your department. It describes in detail the types of services, steps for notification and honor guard protocol. However, It is recognized that the varying sizes and configurations of agencies precludes the guideline from being a one size fits all solution, and will need to reflect local policy. Additionally, this is a voluntary guideline, and agencies may choose to use some, none or all of this guideline at their sole discretion. This guideline is not copyrighted and may be freely copied and amended.*
The model policy can be downloaded here.
Download the Model Policy Document - LODD
For further information contact Chaplain Pat Ellis at the Kent Fire Department RFA, 253-856-5826, email firstname.lastname@example.org
*quotes from the introduction to the Model Washington State Fire Service Line of Duty Death Guidelines
This model guideline is a collaborative effort of the following:
- Washington Fire Chiefs
- Washington Fire Commissioners
- Washington State Council of Firefighters (IAFF)
- Washington Firefighters Association
- National Fallen Firefighters Association through the Taking Care of our Own and LAST Team Programs