Funeral Team Guidelines


When an ambulance district or helicopter service has one if its own lose their live in the line of duty, there is nothing harder to deal with.  And if an organization does not have a plan in place, and you are faced with a situation, it is hard not to make decision using your emotions.  It is a difficult task in being involved in a funeral for one of its members.  There are a lot of questions associated with a funeral and what types of funeral honors are appropriate for the deceased.  This booklet will assist organization in what the Missouri EMS Funeral Response Team policy provides.

These guidelines will define the different levels of honors.  It also includes suggestions for visitations and funerals. To have consistency, the Missouri EMS Funeral Response Team will abide by these guidelines.

Through the entire event, greeting the families to the visitation, and throughout the funeral the family’s wishes must be considered before any plans are made.  The family may choose not to do some suggested and appropriate level of honors services, but families should not influence an increase of the level of honor service.

The Missouri Emergency Medical Services Line of Duty Death Funeral Response Team is a trained and dedicated Corps of EMS Volunteers that will respond to your department when requested. Our goal is that every EMS/Pre-hospital provider that pays the ultimate price receives the honors they deserve during the funeral process.

We provide Honor Guard services and we specialize in assistance with funeral procedures including planning for both Line of Duty and non- Line of Duty deaths, bringing the necessary supplies and knowledge. It is our mission to represent all members of the EMS profession with honor, dignity, and respect. Additionally, we will also strive to provide compassion, support, and assistance to the families and colleagues of fallen EMS personnel and their departments.

The team can be reached for activation by calling 1-800-274-6914 or 660-415-7990.  General questions can be sent by email to either or or by calling 660-415-7990 or 660-670-1469.




The Ultimate Sacrifice—Line of Duty Death

The Line of Duty death, the ultimate sacrifice, will receive the highest level of ceremony. See page on Type One.

First, we need to make sure that this is truly a Line of Duty Death (LODD). What constitutes a line of duty. The federal guidelines define line of duty deaths as:

Death is a direct and proximate result of an injury sustained in the line of duty.

In 2003, the “Hometown Heroes Act” became law. It states:

That a public safety officer who suffered a fatal heart attack or stroke up to 24 hours after on-duty, nonroutine stressful event. This is not 24 hours after the end of their shift. But when the nonroutine stressful event ends. In 2012 Vascular accidents was added to this.

There are 3 types / levels of honors that is afforded to a public safety individuals. In our case, EMS personal. Again, type one is the highest level of ceremony. These honors are reserved for those individuals that have given the “Ultimate Sacrifice”, their lives in the line of duty.

It is very important that organizations understand what level of honors their member may receive. It is important to have a policy in place for just that. It is also important that “Emotions” do not play a part. “Honoring Up” is a term used when organizations and families sometime want to provide more honors than the EMS individual is entitled to. It is very hard not to use emotions when planning. Having a policy in place with our organization will help you set guidelines in which to go by. Guidelines for a policy is on our web site under Emergency and Pre-plan. You are welcome to use that, cretic it, or make your own to work for your organization.

We hope that these guidelines assist you in what may be provided in each level of honors. All 3 types are listed in this policy. Or you may contact the Missouri EMS Funeral team at the contact information on the front page.








TYPE ONE (1) Ultimate Sacrafice

This is the highest level of ceremony. It is reserved for our EMS family who die as a result of a line of duty incident or direct job related event. This may include members whose death has occurred from injuries or illness directly sustained during active duty.  This could include strokes and heart attacks under certain circumstances.  The Missouri EMS Funeral Response team will also consider a type one service if the member whose death occurs while the member is responding home after work without deviation. Other situations may be considered under certain circumstances.


American flag or EMS Flag – (EMS Flag optional but not both)

Ambulance as hearse*

Badge shrouds/morning bands

Bagpiper/Pipe & Drum – option if one can be obtained or by PA system      

Bugler – option (yes if Military)

Casket Vigil – 2 personal

Department Apparatus in procession

Eulogy – pallbearers                       Visitation department walk through

Flags ½ mast (only by order of the governor)

Color Guard   Honor Guard

Ladder with American flag – if available and weather permitting—option

Last Alarm Ceremony                      Sea of Blue   Vehicle bunting & station bunting (if available)

Fly over-If available and weather permitting

Assist agency with nomination paper work for national memorials-if applicable


TYPE TWO (2) Funeral

This level of service is available to members of our EMS family, who die while an active member, but the death was in the line of duty or related to the job.


American Flag—if Military


EMS Flag-option

Missouri Flag to family (If EMS flag is not presented)

Badge shrouds/morning bands

Bagpiper – option if one can be obtained or by PA system

Bugler – option (yes if Military)

Casket Vigil – 2 personal

Department Apparatus in procession

Eulogy -- pallbearers

Visitation department walk through

Honor Guard    color guard (optional)

Ladder with American flag – if available—option

Last Alarm Ceremony            Sea of Blue

Vehicle bunting  (if available) Fly over – if available and weather permitting

*Ambulance as hearse is not an option for non-LODD.  It is recommended that the honorees ambulance, parked right in front of the hearse, lead the honoree to their final resting place.


TYPE THREE (3) Funeral

This level of service is available to inactive members that is not job or duty related or for the death of a current or charter board member.

American Flag—if Military

Bugler—if military


Missouri Flag to family

Casket Vigil – 1 personal


Visitation department walk through

*Ambulance as hearse is not an option for non-LODD. It is recommended that the honorees ambulance, parked right in front of the hearse, lead the honoree to their final resting place.


TYPE FOUR (4) Funeral

Sometimes there may be a request for special honors.  An example could be a Dr. who was instrumental in working with EMS, or a board member that served 20 years and was still serving as a board member.  These will be looked at as requested.


                                                                       Honoring up-ambulance as hearse in type 2 or type 3 funerals

When the response team response to show honors, it will abide by the guidelines set forth in the Missouri EMS Funeral Team guidelines. If at anytime when responding to an organization, that organizations wishes to “Honor up”, the funeral team commander or state commander will explain the funeral team position to the organization and the family as needed.

If the organization still will not abide by the funeral team’s guidelines the funeral team will still attend the visitation and show honors as the honoree deserves, following the guidelines of the team. However:

The EMS funeral team believes that using an ambulance as a hearse is the “ultimate honor” and is reserved for EMS providers that fall in the line of duty. The EMS Funeral team guidelines would be to have the organizations or the honoree ambulance right in front of the hearse-- lead the hearse to the honorees final resting place.

If an organization insist that the ambulance be used as a hearse at the funeral, the funeral team, per our funeral team guidelines, will remove themselves and will not be involved with anything to do with transporting the casket to the ambulance, loading in the ambulance, or the removal of the casket from the ambulance.  This also includes being pall bearers and calling the “Sea of Blue”. The funeral team will provide any guidance the organization wishes and will answer any questions the organization has about this and show all other honors per our guidelines. 




Active member: A full-time or volunteer member of an agency serving in an active capacity.

Affiliate Member: An individual that has served in some other capacity with the agency. (i.e. Executive Director, board member, Etc.)

American flag: Provided to honorable discharged military veterans, or EMS personal that are loss their lives in the line of duty. Can be used to drape the casket. (Note: nothing is to be laid on the American flag while on the casket.)

Badge shroud / Mourning band: Black elastic horizontally covering the uniform badge.


       Station: mourning drapes that are placed on the outside of the ambulance base

       Vehicle: Morning drapes that is used to adorn an ambulance participating in a service.

Casket Vigil / Silent Guard: One or two uniformed personal standing guard at the casket during visitation.

Color Guard / Honor Guard: A formal trained staff of EMS service staff that carry ceremonial flags and other implements that participate in marching and other formalized drill procedures.

EMS Flag: EMS morning casket flag that can be draped over the casket

Fly Over: A helicopter fly over at the appropriate time in the service

Honoring up: Providing honors the individual qualifies for.

Inactive member: A retired or former member of an agency who remains in good standing

Line of Duty Death (LODD): A death that is the result of traumatic injury or illness directly sustained while performing duties.

Non-Duty Related Deaths: Death that results from injury or illness that is not directly related in the performance of their duties.

Sea of Blue: Non-detailed / uniformed members and visiting department’s member’s procession.  Members may walk in a procession or create a corridor that the casket passes through, or both.

Visitation Walk Through: A predetermined time during the visitation when uniform / non-uniformed members and dignitaries enter for a unified tribute.



Missouri EMS Funeral Response check list        Please check all that apply

Date: __________________                         Name of Deceased: _____________________________

Type of funeral ______ Type 1  _____ Type 2 _____Type 3         Casket open___ closed___

_____ American Flag (Type 1 or Military) ____ EMS Flag (Type 1, 2) ____MO Flag (Type1, 2,3)               

_____Ambulance as hearse (Type 1 only)

_____Hearse (Type 1, 2, 3)

_____Badge Shroud / Mourning bands (Type 1,2)

_____Bagpiper (Type 1, 2)  

_____Bugler (Type 1,2 Military)

_____Casket Vigil (Type 1,2,3)

_____Department Apparatus in procession (Type 1,2)

_____Eulogy (Type 1,2)

_____Pallbearers (Type 1,2,3)

_____Visitation department walk through (Type 1,2,3)

_____Flags ½ mast:  (by order of the governor) (Type 1)

_____Color guard / Honor guards (Type 1,2)

_____Ladder Truck with American flag (Type 1,2)

_____Last Alarm Ceremony (Type 1,2)

_____Sea of blue (Type 1,2)

_____Vehicle bunting (Type 1,2)

_____Station bunting (Type 1)

_____Fly over (Type 1,2)

© 2022 Missouri EMS Funeral Response Team