When an active first responder dies, leaders must take multiple important steps in a short period of time -- each with the potential for significant impact on the family, agency, and community.

One of the first steps is deciding how the death will be classified and treated by the agency. Did the death occur in the ‘line of duty?’ Or is ‘active duty’ more appropriate?

Either way, there are important ‘first steps’ that must be taken to properly, respectfully, and efficiently notify the family, initiate the rendering of appropriate immediate honors, and much more -- especially if the death occurred as a result of duty.

If you are someone who might be tasked with taking, guiding, or assisting in taking or guiding those first steps, or if you simply want to know more about these most important topics, we encourage you to join us for...Honor, Benefits, and First Steps


Regarding HONOR:

  • Distinguishing between ‘active duty’ and ‘line-of-duty’ will include consideration of presumptive guidelines for heart attacks, strokes, vascular ruptures, cancer, and COVID-19
  • Important differences between active-duty and line-of-duty professional honors

Regarding BENEFITS:

  • Line-of-duty death benefits criteria and how they are established
  • The role honor plays in the establishment of benefits criteria
  • Overview of state line-of-duty death benefits
  • Retirement benefits and line-of-duty death

Federal Benefits: Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB)

  • What agencies and what individuals (by job classification) within those agencies are covered
  • What circumstances of death qualify as ‘line of duty’
  • Special provisions for:
    • Working out
    • EMS personnel
    • Heart attacks, strokes, vascular ruptures
    • COVID-19
  • Death, disability, and education benefits
  • Beneficiary eligibility and determination of recipient(s)
  • Factors that can cause benefits to be denied
  • PLUS: Recent federal legislation that improves PSOB coverage -- including provisions that could provide eligibility when acting out of jurisdiction, and more.

Special Circumstances:

  • Suicide
  • Special considerations for first responders who contract COVID and survive

First Steps:

  • Death Notification
    • Family
    • Agency
    • Community
  • Removal and movement of a hero
  • Immediate honors -- including important considerations regarding a 24-Hour Guard
  • Guiding principles

Ultimate Honor

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ULTIMATE HONOR is for Police, Fire, and EMS leaders, honor guard members, chaplains, and all others with a role in responding or leading a response or component to a line-of-duty death (LODD) of a first responder and truly achieving ‘Ultimate Honor for Ultimate Sacrifice.’

While generally covering aspects of funeral planning, the class focuses on the big picture of responding to a LODD and ensuring that the right things are done for the right reasons (and therefore the right ways) with consideration of the needs of all affected.

The class will challenge the status quo and examine aspects of LODD rarely discussed. It will also explore best practices, dispel myths, and present steps to be taken in advance to prepare for the unthinkable.

Additional topics:

  • Honor and Ultimate Honor
  • More ‘first steps’
  • ‘Grief tempered by awe’
  • Typical concerns of the family
  • Respecting true custom, tradition, and symbolism
  • Demystifying honor guards for leaders who must oversee them
  • The truth about ‘protocol’
  • Egos – We all have one
  • Our biggest mistake (as first responder leaders)

**HONOR, BENEFITS, and FIRST STEPS is a pre-requisite