We deal with both the prospect and reality of death quite a bit in EMS. While we constantly remind ourselves that “it’s not my emergency” in order to improve safety and maintain sanity, how many agencies have considered and are prepared for when it was their emergency that resulted in a line of duty death? Sadly, it usually takes such an occurrence for an agency to contemplate it and then there is a frantic rush to be able to provide family support and a respectful ceremony that member deserves.
Authored by Tawnya Silloway, published through the collaborative efforts of the National EMS Memorial Service (NEMSMS), the American Ambulance Association (AAA), and American Medical Response (AMR) the EMS Line Of Duty Death Handbook now offers agencies a guide for handling these tragic events.
The handbook is 48 pages long and covers not only line of duty deaths but also deaths of agency retirees and support staff. Although it may seem short, there is a wealth of information including diagrams and ICS style checklists for the responsibilities of personnel such as the Public Information Officer, the Funeral Coordinator, and the very important Family Liaison Officer. Most importantly, it offers suggestions on what the agency can do now to prepare before such an occurrence that can make the handling of the situation smoother.
Agencies owe it to their members to be prepared for this and the handbook offers a great starting point for agency leaders to work from. The handbook is available as a free download here with the suggestion that a donation be made to the National EMS Memorial Service.