Dealing with a firefighter line-of-duty death is one of the toughest and most challenging experiences a fire department can face. Supporting the firefighter’s family through the ordeal should be of top priority, but sometimes this does not occur as it should. That is why the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), through a grant from the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance, is working to develop a unified response on a state-by-state basis to provide assistance to fire departments and the firefighter’s family immediately following a line-of-duty death. A major goal is to expedite filing for benefits with the Public Safety Officers Benefits program of the Department of Justice.
The intent of this program is to identify a group of individuals in each state who are willing to respond to support the department and the family when they experience a line-of-duty death. Under this program each unit will be known as the Local Assistance State Team (LAST).
LAST consists of a chief officer who has experienced a line-of-duty death (the Team Leader), an honor guard member, a fire service chaplain, a survivor, and a behavioral/ mental health specialist. Team Leaders are recruited through the major fire service organizations at the state and local level, and they volunteer their services. Upon request from the department, these teams will be deployed to assist the department with all aspects of a line-of-duty death—from helping with arrangements for a fire department funeral with full honors to providing emotional support for the family and department members.
Information on each state's Local Assistance State Team can be found on the NFFF website by clicking on this link. Check back for updates.