Planning a Firefighter Funeral

Firefighters put their lives at risk every day to protect the public, so planning a funeral should ensure proper respect is given on their passing. In fact, part of paying respect to a firefighter includes a number of fire department traditions, which honor firefighters who have passed. For firefighters who have died in the line of duty, funeral services include full military-style honors.

After a line of duty death

When a firefighter dies in the line of duty, his or her family must be notified before the press. Notification of the family begins the mourning period. Signs of mourning a fallen firefighter include shrouded badges, bunting on the station’s sign and on the firefighter’s engine, and the lowering of the fire station flag to half-staff. Most fire station departments will assign a family member liaison, which serves as the single point of contact with the fire department.

Walk-through for the viewing

In funeral planning, the family needs to choose the detail if they have requested an honor guard. However, the family can also request specific department members. The honor guard stands vigil during the funeral services or wake. A team of two honor guards takes a 15-minute watch, beginning 30 minutes before the viewing and ending 30 minutes after, one at the head and one at the foot of the casket. Some fire departments expand honor guard duties to include the pallbearers and color guard for the funeral.

Etiquette for uniformed members

Unless someone is a pallbearer or member of the honor guard or color guard, he or she should remove his or her cover when entering the funeral home. Uniformed members may wear their hats at all times, but some put their hats on when they go back outside. The common protocol for saluting the casket is to only salute when wearing the cover.

When Arthur Thompson added the funeral home on the Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory cemetery grounds, it was only the second funeral home/cemetery combination in the country. Mountain View currently has 160 acres of property, 110 of which have been fully developed for cemetery use. To learn more, please call (253) 584-0252.

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