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Honor Guard


 
Houston Fire Department Honor Guard Services

H.F.D.Honor Guard member Mike Smith with the possession behind him for the fallen Boston Firefighters in March/April 2014The honor guard performs three types of services; LODD, Active and Retiree; based on the member's status and what they were doing at the time of death. One of the functions of the honor guard is to carry out tradition and ensure that each and every member that passes on, is honored with the same service type, each and every time.

Below are the functions that are carried out at each type of service:

 

Retiree

  • Flags placed at the casket or picture for the service
  • Color Guard at attention for movement from the chapel to the coach
  • HFD Funeral Coach from chapel to the gravesite
  • Color Guard procession from coach to the gravesite
  • Flag and Bible Presentation
  • Bell Speech
  • Farewell Message
 

Active

  • All flags at half-staff at all fire stations the day of the service
  • All badges shrouded the day of the service
  • Casket Guard duty during visitation and one hour before service
  • Flags placed at the casket or picture for the service
  • Color Guard at attention for movement from the chapel to the coach
  • HFD Funeral Coach from chapel to the gravesite
  • Color Guard procession from coach to the gravesite
  • Flag and Bible Presentation
  • Bell Speech
  • Farewell Message
 

Line of Duty (LODD)

  • All flags at half-staff at all fire stations until the day after the service
  • All badges shrouded until the day after the service
  • Continuous Guard during business hours at the funeral home
  • American Flag drape on casket
  • Casket Guard duty during visitation
  • Firefighter procession – originating at the closest HFD station to the place of worship
  • Flags placed at the casket or picture for the service
  • Color Guard at attention for movement from the chapel to the coach
  • HFD Funeral Coach from chapel to the gravesite
  • Color Guard procession from coach to the gravesite
  • Flag and Bible Presentation
Memorial Procession

Farewell Messages

At all services the honor guard will present a Texas Flag.  If the member was also a member of Houston Professional Firefighters Local 341, then a bible would be presented to the family.  The Texas flag is on behalf of the Houston Firefighters Retirement and Relief Fund and the bible is on behalf of the Local 341.

After the presentations, the ceremony is concluded with the ringing of the bell and the farewell message.  The ringing of the bell is a short speech about traditions in the fire service followed by 7 gongs of the bell, a short pause, then a single gong.  The farewell message is the final tribute to our brother or sister, being remembered by the HFD Dispatcher with a live broadcast message to all fire stations and apparatus on the air.

 

Ringing of the Bell 7-1

Bell Speech

The fire service is filled with many traditions dating back to the days of Benjamin Franklin.  Before the use of the two-way radio, the bell was used to communicate orders.  When the fire was extinguished, the bell would be rung seven times, pause, then once more; to signal that it was time to pick up the equipment and prepare for the next assignment.  We will now ring the bell seven times, followed by a single gong, to signify that our brother (sister)’s assignment here on earth is complete and to prepare for their next assignment in heaven.