Department Of Fire & Rescue Services
Montgomery County, MD


No. 526
July 31, 1990

1.0 To establish notification and related procedures for service connected and non-service connected fatalities.

2.0 All DFRS personnel.

3.0 Family Liaison Officer - A DFRS officer, Captain or above, who provides DFRS support to the family of a deceased employee.
3.1 Fire Department Funeral - Funeral service reserved for non-service connected deaths of any retired Director, chief officer, active employee, or Fire/Rescue Services Medal Recipient (silver or bronze). The ceremony involves a formation of crossed aerials at the cemetery entrance, use of a hearse, honor guard, and the sounding of taps.
3.2 Full Fire Department Funeral - Funeral service reserved for service connected deaths or the death of a fire/rescue services Gold Medal Recipient. Ceremony involves utilizing an engine company as a funeral coach; a formation of crossed aerials at the cemetery entrance, fire fighter formations at the place of worship and cemetery; sounding of taps, bagpipes, and/or muffled bell toll; a rifle salute; presence of the Honor Guard; flag fold and presentation of the flag to survivors.
3.3 Fire Department Representation - Delegation appointed by the Director to attend the funeral of a retired employee, or service where the family does not wish to have either Fire Department Funeral.
3.4 Funeral Officer - DFRS representative (Captain or above) responsible for coordinating all DFRS involvement and response to an employee's funeral in accordance with the family's wishes.
3.5 Heroes, Inc. Representative - Person designated by the Director to act as Department liaison to Heroes, Inc.
3.6 Injury Investigation Team - An element of DFRS responsible for collecting and reviewing data on service connected deaths, issuing final reports on cause, and making recommendations for policy and procedure changes. The team is comprised of the DFRS Safety Officer, on-duty EMS Officer, Bargaining Unit Member of the Health and Safety Committee, Bureau Chief approved by the Director, and other personnel as deemed appropriate.
3.7 Public Safety Officer's Death Benefits (PSODB) - Federal and State programs enacted to compensate the survivors of public safety officers killed in the line of duty. The benefits apply to firefighters, EMTs, and CRTs.

4.0 The wishes of the family will take precedence over any Departmental Funeral plans within the criteria of this policy.
4.1 The DFRS will make resources available to meet the needs of the survivors of an employee who suffers a service connected death, as outlined in 5.0-5.8 and 5.14-5.20.
4.2 The DFRS will make resources available to assist the survivors of an employee who suffers a non-service connected death, as outlined in 5.9-5.13.
4.3 The persons listed in 5.1 of this policy must be notified immediately when an employee suffers a service connected death.
4.4 A DFRS Officer (Captain or above) will be assigned as the Family Liaison Officer to the family of an employee who suffers a death.
4.5 DFRS will notify the next of kin of employees suffering service connected death. This notification must be made by the on-duty Shift Operations Chief, or designee (Captain or above).
4.6 All employees must maintain an up-to-date Emergency Notification Form with the Shift Operations Chief's Office and their Senior Career Officer. This information must be readily available at all times.
4.7 The Injury Investigation Team will conduct an investigation whenever an employee suffers a service connected death.


Service Connected Deaths

5.0 Service connected deaths must be reported to ECC immediately via telephone.
5.1 ECC must immediately contact the following individuals via alpha pager or telephone:

  1. The Director
  2. First Deputy Chief
  3. Bureau Chiefs
  4. Shift Operations Chief
  5. Safety Officer
  6. District Chiefs
  7. Chaplain
  8. County Executive
  9. Chief Administrative Officer
  10. Assistant CAO for Fire and Rescue
  11. Senior Career Officer
  12. Public Information Officer
  13. President of Local 1664/Local 400
  14. Corporate Designee where individual was assigned
  15. Heroes Inc. Representative

5.2 The on-duty Shift Operations Chief, or designee, (Captain or above) must be dispatched to the deceased employee's next of kin for notification. When practical, the appropriate Department Chaplain and Local 1664/Local 400 representative will be picked up by the Shift Operations Chief en route.
5.3 After confirming notification of the next of kin, ECC will broadcast the following message:

Alert tone - (5 beeps) "It is with deep regret that the Director of the Department of Fire and Rescue Services announces the death of (rank, name, duty assignment [e.g.: Engine 11, Truck 29, Medic 49, Fire Investigation, etc.]) who lost his/her life in the line of duty while participating in operations on incident number (give number and address or brief description of circumstances). The Director requests that all flags be lowered to half mast from (specify time and dates) and black bunting be draped across station fronts. Information regarding funeral arrangements will follow."

5.4 ECC must notify the Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Team when advised of a service connected death.
5.5 The Safety Officer will assemble the Injury Investigation Team and investigate the cause of the incident.
5.6 The Bureau Chief of the deceased employee must appoint a Family Liaison Officer within 1/2 hour of notification of a service connected death.
5.7 The Department's Representative to Heroes, Inc. must notify that organization immediately upon notification of a service connected death. Heroes, Inc. will accept notification only from the authorized DFRS Representative. (See Attachment 6.1)
5.8 The Family Liaison Officer must report to the deceased employee's next of kin within 1 hour of notification and implement the following assistance program:
  1. Immediate - Within the first 24 hours.

  1. Contact DFRS Heroes, Inc. Representative (see Attachment 6.1).

  2. Ensure that an autopsy is performed within 24 hours of death to meet the criteria of the PSODB.

  3. Assist with contacting relatives of the deceased.

  4. Coordinate contacting the deceased employee's clergy.

  5. Determine the family's wishes for funeral (F.D. or not) and initiate appropriate actions to coordinate arrangements.

  6. If a Full fire Department Funeral is requested, notify the deceased employee's Bureau Chief.

  7. Coordinate military honors when applicable.

  8. Coordinate assistance in providing meals for family members.

  9. Create a data base of friends, relatives, and other people offering assistance.

  10. Contact the Personnel Office, 7th Floor, EOB.

  1. b. Follow-up (within 48-96 hours).

  1. Initiate State and Federal PSODB procedures (see Attachment 6.3).

  2. Provide list of counseling, legal, and financial referrals available to survivors.

  3. Coordinate and follow up on all survivor's benefits through Employee Services:

  • Final paycheck
  • Life insurance
  • Social Security Survivor Benefits
  • Annual, Compensatory and Sick Leave Pay-offs
  • Retirement fund options available to survivors

  1. Notify the National Fire Academy, Emmitsburg, Maryland, for the Fallen Firefighter Memorial.

  2. Provide a list of the family's needs to the Heroes, Inc. Representative.

  1. Long term.

  1. Assure that all eligible benefits are received.
  2. Provide periodic contact to assure the needs of survivors are met.

  1. Weekly for the first month.
  2. Monthly thereafter, as appropriate.

  Non-Service Connected Death
5.9 Upon notification of the non-service connected death of a DFRS employee, personnel must notify the appropriate Staffing Officer.
5.10 The Staffing Officer must notify the on-duty Shift Operations Chief and appropriate Bureau Chief.
5.11 The appropriate Bureau Chief will appoint a Family Liaison Officer and notify the appropriate Department chaplain.
5.12 The Family Liaison Officer must attempt to meet with the family or the family representative (clergy, attorney, etc.) within 1 hour of his/her appointment by the Bureau Chief and determine the level of Department involvement.
5.13 The Family Liaison Officer must, in accordance with family wishes, assist the next of kin with the applicable points in Section 5.8a, 3-10.
5.14 Department funerals will be conducted in accordance with the following criteria:

  1. Full Fire Department Funeral - Service-connected death or death of a Department Gold medal recipient.

  2. Fire Department Funeral - Retired chief officer, Director, non-service connected death of an active employee, death of a silver or bronze department medal recipient.

  3. Fire Department Representation - Retired employee, or when family wishes preclude Fire Department or Full Fire Department Funeral.

5.15 When a deceased employee's family concurs with an offer for a Full Fire Department or Fire Department Funeral, the Family Liaison Officer must notify the deceased employee's Bureau Chief.
5.16 The Bureau Chief must appoint a Funeral Officer (Captain or above) within 1 hour of the notification.
5.17 The Funeral Officer must consult with the Family Liaison Officer and the deceased employee's family to determine family preferences for funeral home, house of worship, closed or open casket, burial clothes (in uniform for service-connected death), clergy, cemetery and pall bearers.
5.18 The Funeral Officer may appoint additional staff to assist with ceremonies.
5.19 The Funeral Officer or designee must coordinate services at the funeral home and house of worship. Considerations include: Fire Department memorial services at funeral home, fire fighter formations, musical arrangements, readings, eulogy, special remarks, procession, funeral coach (Fire Department engine or hearse).
5.20 The Funeral Officer or designee must coordinate services at the burial site. Considerations include: crossed aerials at the entrance of the cemetery, fire fighter formations, sounding of taps, bagpiper, or muffled bell toll (Full Fire Department Funeral only), rifle salute (Full Fire Department Funeral only), honor guard (Full Fire Department Funeral), flag fold and presentation.

6.0 DFRS Notification Form
6.1 Line of Duty Death Benefits Initiation Checklist
6.2 Heroes Inc., Benefit
6.3 Public Safety Officers' Death Benefit, Federal and State
6.4 Guidelines for Conducting Fire Department Funerals.