The funeral of a firefighter is deeply rooted in tradition. Those who knew, worked, and lived with their fallen comrade will go through a wide range of emotions. This editorial from The National Fire & Rescue describes the difficulty some departments and personnel face while planning a comrades funeral.
The Nebraska Serious Injury & Line of Duty Death Response Team is a non-profit corporation organized under the laws of the State of Nebraska. It is qualified as a section 501 (c) (3) charitable foundation entitling donors tax deductions for Federal Income.
Funeral Service Guide
Fire Departments throughout the State of Nebraska have had to, or may face the difficult task of being involved in an official funeral for one or more of its members. One of the most difficult questions the department must decide upon is what type of funeral honors are appropriate for the deceased.
In making a decision, primary consideration must be given to the family’s feelings and desires, as well as past or future practices of the department.
This guideline defines different levels of honor with corresponding suggested arrangement options.
To establish consistency, it is recommended that departments adopt a funeral protocol plan prior to its need.
During the entire funeral process, the department must consider the deceased member’s family’s wishes.
Before any plan is instituted, the deceased member’s family must agree with the department’s intended participation. The family may choose to forgo some suggested and appropriate level of honor services, however, family should not influence an inappropriate increase of the level of honor services.
The Nebraska Serious Injury and Line of Duty Death Response Team is available at all times to answer questions or assist in funeral matters. The Response Team has members have been trained on funeral matters and have extensive funeral experience. We can assist you in many ways. We will respond to your Serious Injury or Line of Duty incidents bringing necessary supplies and knowledge of the benefits process. We will also provide guidance for non line of duty incidents as well as offering our supplies for your use. The supplies are offered on a first request basis with priority given to Line of Duty Death incidents.
Level of Services
Level One ( 1 )
This is the HIGHEST level of ceremony. It is reserved for firefighters who die as a result of a line of duty incident or direct job related event. This may include members whose death has stemmed from injuries or illness directly sustained during active duty. This may include heart attack, and stroke.
Level Two ( 2 )
This level of service is available to firefighters who die while an active member, but the death was not job or duty related.
Level Three ( 3 )
This level of service is available to inactive members that is not job or duty related or for the death of an affiliate member.
With suggested level of appropriateness
American Flag (1, or Military Veteran 1, 2, or 3)
Badge Shrouds (1, 2, 3)
Bagpipers (1, 2)
Bell Ceremony (1, 2, 3)
Bugler (1 or Military Veteran, 1, 2, 3)
Casket Vigil (1, 2, 3)
Department Apparatus in Procession (1, 2)
Eulogy (1, 2)
Fire Apparatus Caisson (1)
Fire Apparatus Flower Unit (1, 2)
Full Fire Apparatus Procession (1)
Firefighter Funeral Flag (1, 2, 3)
Firefighters Visitation Walk Through (1, 2)
Flags ½ mast (1) * (ONLY by order of Governor ~ Statewide. LOCAL – Mayor.)
Hearse (2, 3)
Honor Guards – Color Guards (1)
Ladders – Crossed or with Large American Flag (1, 2)
Last Alarm Ceremony (1, 2)
Sea of Blue (1)
Station Bunting (1, 2, 3)
Vehicle Bunting (1, 2)
Line of Duty: A death that is the result of a traumatic injury or illness directly sustained while performing department duties.
Active Member: A full-time or volunteer member of an agency serving in an active capacity.
Inactive Member: A retired or former member of an agency who remains in good standing.
Affiliate Member: An individual that has served in some other capacity with the agency. (i.e.: Director, Commissioner, Trustee)
Non-Duty Related Death: Death that results from injury or illness that is not directly related in the performance of their duties.
Fire Apparatus Caisson: Fire Department Apparatus used to carry the casket for line of duty related deaths.
Fire Apparatus Flower Unit: Fire Department Apparatus that transport flowers during the procession.
Casket Vigil: One or Two Uniformed Fire Service Members standing guard at the casket during the visitation.
Color Guard – Honor Guard: A formal – trained unit of fire service staff that carry ceremonial flags and other ceremonial equipment, that participate in marching and other formalized drill procedures.
Badge Shroud: Black elastic, horizontally covering the uniform badge. Also known as a “mourning band”.
Funeral Bunting: Station: Mourning drapes that are placed on the outside of the fire station.Vehicle: Mourning drapes that are used to adorn the Fire Apparatus participating in the caisson or flower unit.
Firefighters Visitation Walk Through: A predetermined time during the visitation when uniformed members and dignitaries enter for a unified tribute.
Sea of Blue (Firefighters March): Non-detailed uniformed members and visiting department members’ procession. Members may walk in a procession or create a corridor that the casket passes through, or both.
Bell Ceremony: Portable Fire Service Bell that is tolled at the conclusion of the bell ceremony reading.
Last Alarm: Dispatch tones out the agency and reads last alarm information, which includes demographic and career information.
Flag: American: Provided to honorably discharged Military Veterans by the Federal Government. Can be used to drape the casket of a Veteran
Fire Service: A Firefighter Funeral Flag that may be purchased from our group that is used to adorn the casket of non-military firefighters. Or pre-folded and presented to the family in honor of their fallen.