SECTION 2 - CEREMONY, FUNERAL PROCEDURES
DEPARTMENT PARTICIPATION LEVEL
(No. 54 October 1999)
The Department may provide services for active and retired employees upon request of
the family. The Department may send personnel to services for close family members
of CDF employees.
Care must be used in committing Department resources to services so that the
Department involvement will be appropriate, as established in Exhibit 1A. For example:
a "line-of-duty" death of an employee may receive greater Department response than
the natural death of an active duty employee.
The Department's participation level may vary at each service and the general order of
service is as follows:
ORDER OF SERVICE
♦ Honor Guard in chapel/church 45 minutes before services.
♦ People arrive
♦ Pallbearers seated
♦ Honor Guard seated
♦ Chaplain/clergy begins service
♦ Eulogy is delivered
♦ Chaplain usually asks if anyone wishes to speak
♦ Honor Guard stands and resumes formation
♦ Last Alarm is sounded
♦ Casket pass (people file past and pay last respects)
♦ Honor Guard exits then stands at attention
♦ Pallbearers bring out casket
♦ Honor Guard does slow salute as casket passes (Protocol Officer begins
salute, others follow in silence).
♦ The Funeral Officer orders to salute as casket passes through (Uniformed
Personnel - "Present Arms", calls uniformed personnel to attention).
♦ Pallbearers lift casket into hearse.
♦ Uniformed personnel ordered "Order Arms."
♦ Uniformed personnel are dismissed.
VISITATION OF DECEASED
Generally, visitation is the night prior to the funeral ceremony. It usually is a time for
individuals to pay their respect to the deceased.
During visitation, an Honor Guard is appropriate. Usually, the Honor Guard will be
posted one at each end of the casket. The guard will be relieved regularly, usually
every 15 minutes.
There may need to be deviations to this procedure and they need to be identified
between the Funeral Officer and the Funeral Director.
CEREMONY PROCEDURES AT THE CHAPEL
1. It is recommended that all uniformed personnel be seated together, and specifically,
that the members of the Honor Guard and/or pallbearers should be seated in a
location that will allow them to easily carry out their assigned duties.
2. When all other guests have been seated, uniformed personnel shall file in, and
proceed to designated seating area.
3. After uniformed personnel are in position, the Honor Guard will enter. The Chaplain
or other officiant will generally precede them down the aisle. When the Honor Guard
and officiant are in position, the Funeral Officer will give the command: "Honor
Guard - be seated" at which time all uniformed personnel will sit down.
4. At the conclusion of services, if space permits, the Honor Guard will take positions
by the casket, standing at attention. After the Honor Guard is in position, the
pallbearers should pass before the casket, followed by remaining uniformed
personnel, then all other guests. When the chapel is clear, the Honor Guard should
exit. No one should be left in the chapel except chaplain/officiant, the Funeral
Officer, and family. This gives the family a time of privacy. The Funeral Officer will
retrieve the badge for future presentation to the family.
If it is a memorial service only (no graveside), the ranking officer should present the
state flag to the family at the conclusion of the service (see Exhibit 1E).
5. Immediately upon leaving the chapel, members of the Honor Guard shall position in
formation by facing each other and standing at attention by the hearse as
diagrammed in Exhibit 2D, Hearse Position at the end of this section. All other
uniformed personnel shall be positioned in formation as directed by the Funeral
Officer. Pallbearers shall return to the rear of the chapel and wait for the funeral
6. While waiting in formation outside the chapel, members shall stand at parade rest.
To assume the position of parade rest, the command is. "Honor Guard - Parade
7. Upon command of the Funeral Officer, all members shall come to attention at the
command: "Honor Guard Attention." They shall render a hand salute on the
command: 'Honor Guard - Present Arms." The hand salute shall be held until the
casket is placed in the hearse and the door is closed. The command to return to the
attention stance is: "Order Arms." At this command, each member shall drop their
right-hand smartly to their side. The Funeral Officer will then dismiss uniformed
personnel with the command "Honor Guard - Dismissed."
PROCESSION - Each emergency vehicle taking part should display headlights and
red warning lights. The procession shall follow the Funeral Procession Order.
(Sirens or other audible warning devices shall not be used.)
FUNERAL PROCESSION ORDER
♦ Funeral escort motorcycles
♦ Engine or unit assigned to deceased
♦ Hearse or engine bearing casket
♦ Vehicle in which family is riding
♦ Walking procession
♦ Region or Unit Chief's vehicle
♦ Department fire equipment
♦ Engines from other departments
♦ Other department marked vehicles
♦ Civilian vehicles
♦ Marked vehicles to bring tip rear of procession
NOTE: This order is the standard for most funeral directors. Can be flexible for
family and department wishes.
If Funeral Procession is a long way between chapel/church and cemetery, it is best to
provide maps to all. All fire apparatus must use one common radio frequency for travel,
as assigned by the unit ECC. Include directions and a safety warning about obeying
speed limits, and whether traffic signals will be obeyed or not (depending upon
cooperation and directions of local law enforcement).
Example: "Please stay close together; traffic control will be provided; but keep
speed down. Be alert to civilian traffic not heeding traffic direction. Turn lights
and overheads on during procession and turn them off at cemetery. Sirens are
not to be used. The travel frequency is ________."
FUNERAL PROCESSION AT THE CEMETERY
Uniformed personnel are lined up in ranks.
♦ Honor Guard at attention when hearse arrives.
♦ Pallbearers lifts casket out and carry it to gravesite.
♦ Honor Guard at attention.
♦ Chaplain/Clergy performs graveside service.
♦ Honor Guard moves in to fold flag.
♦ Honor Guard leader commands, "Honor Guard - Fold Flag."
♦ Honor Guard pulls flag taut.
♦ Uniformed personnel are called to attention by the Funeral Officer and told,
Bugler, if available plays "Taps" while flag is being folded and personnel
are at attention and saluting. Flag is held crossed arms to Honor Guard
♦ When "Taps" is completed, uniformed personnel are commanded, "Order,
♦ Rifle volley (when appropriate).
♦ After flag is folded, Honor Guard leader or appropriate chief officer presents
flag to Unit or Region Chief.
♦ Unit or Region Chief pins deceased's badge to the flag, steps back, then
slowly salutes the flag and the person who is presenting the flag to the family
(see Exhibit 2E).
♦ Honor Guard leader or appropriate chief officer slowly returns salute.
♦ Unit or Region Chief presents flag to family.
♦ Helicopter, if used, is signaled and does a flyover and pitch-up.
♦ Chaplain makes final comments.
♦ Uniformed personnel are dismissed.
♦ Honor Guard marches from the gravesite to disbanding location.
♦ Service is concluded.
SPECIFIC PROCEDURES AT THE GRAVESIDE
1. The Honor Guard members and/or pallbearers shall be positioned in formation at the
hearse, as shown in Exhibit 2D. All other uniformed personnel will form facing ranks
from hearse to gravesite leaving room for casket to pass between. The Funeral
Officer shall bring these personnel to attention upon the opening of the hearse
doors. At this time, the pallbearers shall break ranks and take their assigned
positions at the casket.
2. As casket passes, the Honor Guard will follow the casket to the gravesite. When
the casket is in place, pallbearers, Honor Guard and uniformed personnel will
position themselves as indicated in Exhibit 2D.
3. All uniformed personnel shall stand in formation at parade rest. This position will be
held until the services are concluded with the exception that hats (if worn) will be
held over coat badges during prayer.
4. At the conclusion of the graveside services, if the deceased has served in the
military, a United States Flag may be presented at this time.
5. If in the event a flag is used to cover the casket, two designated members shall fold
the flag and present it in a military manner to the highest ranking Fire Department
Officer in attendance, who will in turn present the flag to the surviving spouse or next
of kin. The American flag is folded in half lengthwise so the crease parallels the red
and white stripes and the blue field is to the outside. The fly end (away from the
blue field) is folded up to the top so the single edge lies perpendicularly across the
By repeatedly folding the thick triangle thus formed about the inboard edge of the
triangle, the ensign is folded into the shape of a cocked hat (see Exhibit 2C, Folding
Flag). As flag folders move into position to fold flag, the Funeral Officer shall bring
uniformed personnel to attention.
The California Flag is folded in half lengthwise, then in half again lengthwise, and
then in a triangular fold method until only the rd star shows on a white triangular
6. As the ranking officer presents the flag to the appropriate person, the Funeral Officer
shall bring all uniformed personnel to Attention, then "Present Arms." A last alarm
should be timed to sound just after the flag is presented. The Logistics Officer shall
coordinate a flyover after the alarm (if used).
7. When all of the above is completed, the Funeral Officer will order uniformed
personnel to "Order Arms," then dismiss them with the command "Uniformed
Personnel - Dismissed." All personnel are dismissed at this time.
8. Special Note: It is difficult to time everything to take place precisely as stated
in the above order. Care should be taken to follow the order listed as close as
FLYOVERS - A flyover of CDF aircraft shall be reserved or those killed in line of
duty, or others, as determined by the region chief.
POST FUNERAL RECEPTION - If the family wishes, Department personnel can
assist at the reception for family and friends following the funeral.
CEREMONIES OF RETIRED EMPLOYEES
The deceased retiree's region chief shall assign a Funeral Officer or designee, of the
area in which the retired personnel resided who shall confer with the widow, widower or
immediate family to determine the extent of Departmental participation desired:
1. Uniformed Honor Guard or escort.
2. Acting pallbearers
3. Do they want people who attend to be in uniform.
4. The Department's participation shall normally be less than that of an active
Department member, unless directed otherwise by the Region Chief.
DISPLAY OF THE FLAG - FUNERALS
1. Departmental offices should display the American flag and the flag of the State of
California at half-mast upon direction of the Director whenever death occurs to an
active or retired firefighter or peace officer of the department, if such death occurs in
the line-of-duty or as a result of such duty.
2. If the funeral is to be held in another Unit, arrangements should be made to
have the flag also flown at half-mast in the unit where the funeral will be held.
(see next section)
(see Funeral Guide section/exhibit list)