Wisconsin State Firefighters Memorial
As a service to members of the Wisconsin Fire Service, the WSFM has formed a Funeral Guard to provide assistance with firefighter funerals. This group is comprised of individuals with formal Honor Guard training and are currently members in good standing from their respective departments. The WSFM Funeral Guard are dedicated to seeing that members of the Wisconsin Fire/EMS service, who have died, receive the honor and dignity they and their families deserve at their funeral ceremony. This group would be available upon request, to any Wisconsin Fire/EMS department which finds themselves thrust into the unfortunate situation of having to plan the funeral for one of their fallen members. The program was launched on January 1, 2014.
Here is how it works:
When a department sustains the loss of one of their members, they can notify the WSFM and we will see that the required information is obtained and forwarded to the Funeral Guard Commander in order to begin the Funeral Guard planning process. The State has been divided into 4 districts and the information obtained from the Department requesting assistance will then be forwarded to the District Commander, for that area, which will contact the requesting department to set up a meeting time to go over family requests. Once the family’s wishes are known, the District Commander will assess how many WSFM Funeral Guard members will be needed to accommodate the family’s requests for the funeral. The District Commander then meets with the family and the Department and apprises them of what assistance may be available to them. The available assistance is dependent upon the type of funeral to be planned, be it a retiree, active duty member, or a line-of-duty death.
Your department will now have one place you can contact for assistance. The WSFM Funeral Guard will NOT come in and take over. We are simply there to help answer questions, coordinate and assist with the training of your department members on details necessary to provide for an honorable, dignified funeral ceremony for your deceased member. The Funeral Guard does not provide assistance with obtaining firefighter death benefits. Many of the Funeral Guard members have prior experience in conducting fire service funerals and may be a valuable asset to departments struggling for answers to the many questions that come up with planning a funeral. The Funeral Guard can provide manpower for various funeral duties or if requested, can oversee and coordinate the entire funeral freeing up your department members for other duties. If you have an Honor Guard, we could help supplement your numbers to help give that family a lasting memory of their loved one who was a proud member of the Fire/EMS services.
The WSFM Funeral Guard has a Commander to oversee the WSFM Funeral Guard. There are 4 District Commanders and 4 District Drill Captains. All of these positions will be filled with current, active Honor Guard members from all types of departments, volunteer, paid on call, career and will include all ranks. As of this time, each District has a Ceremonial Bugle. As funding becomes available, each District will be supplied with its own set of flags, flag stands, axes and pike poles in addition to other needed supplies.
For those wishing to become a part of the WSFM Funeral Guard, you will have an opportunity to fill out an application for membership starting January 1, 2014. Interested parties with Honor Guard experience are strongly encouraged to apply. Applications will be accepted from interested parties with no formal Honor Guard training or experience after the initial group of applicants has completed their Funeral Guard orientation training. Training for inexperienced applicants will be scheduled after enough interested applicants have applied to justify a three day training session. Those who are accepted into the Funeral Guard will be required to go to 2 District training sessions and 1 State-wide training session per year. This requirement insures that there is uniformity and a high degree of professionalism amongst all participants. All members of the Funeral Guard will be trained not only the drill and ceremonial aspect, but how to coordinate and run all aspects of a firefighter funeral.
This is just one more way the Wisconsin State Firefighters Memorial is helping our firefighters and their families of this great State.