Fire Corps Teams Can Help their Department with Fire Service Funerals

Tuesday February 23rd, 2010

When a member of a department passes away, planning an official funeral can be a time consuming and complicated process. Fire Corps teams can assist local departments in the planning and execution of a fire service funeral and help to simplify the process during a difficult time.

There are several ways Fire Corps members can assist. Since a fire service funeral includes an elaborate procession, Fire Corps teams can help with the organization and staging of the funeral procession and parking at the cemetery. Additionally, volunteers can direct pedestrian traffic and ensure that guests and participants in the service know where they need to be. Fire Corps teams can also assist on-duty firefighters during the funeral and related events by bringing food to the firehouse, as well as be on hand to serve food to members of the department after the funeral has concluded and provide clean-up services.

Recently the Fire Corps volunteers from the Seymour (TN) Volunteer Fire Department provided funeral assistance for local departments and found their team to be helpful in making sense of a complex process. Tennessee State Advocate and Seymour Support Services Coordinator Dave Caulfield was met with some challenges when planning for the funeral.

“In the planning leading up to this we found the funeral home was not aware of the proper order of how things are done correctly [for a fire service funeral] because they have never had to do one before,” said Caulfield. “During my preparation I wondered how many other Fire Corps programs receive similar requests from departments and not have the information on hand to do it properly – or even where to find that information.”

A death in the fire service family is difficult for everyone involved. Fire Corps volunteers can reduce some of the burden on departments by actively participating in the planning and staging of a funeral. The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) offers a Funeral Procedures Guide to assist departments in the planning and implementation of a fire service funeral. The 2010 version of this Guide will be released in the coming months, so stay tuned to the NVFC web site at www.nvfc.org.

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