EMS tips for creating an LODD policy

An EMS1 poll revealed the majority of EMS agencies have no policy in place; here’s how better prepare for such a tragic event


When it comes to preparing for a line of duty death, a recent EMS1 poll found that the majority of EMS agencies – 84 percent to be precise – have no policies, activities, or research in place. Only 9 percent of those who responded said their agency has written its own or adopted an LODD protocol.

Dwight Polk, paramedic program director for the University of Maryland Baltimore County, recommends changing that.

“If your department doesn’t have a line of duty death policy, you should begin working on one immediately,” he said.

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In a response to a Facebook post about the poll, reader Elizabeth Drace brought up a good point.

“Can you ever really prepare for this?” she asked. “We are taught scene safety from day one. So this should never happen. But of course it ides, more often than we like to admit.”

When a brother or sister is killed on the job, public safety organizations are expected by family members, other emergency responders and the public to respond to the death, Polk said. At the very least, we need to get the funeral right.

In addition to assigning a funeral coordinator with pre-approved authority to organize the event and spend department funds, he recommends having an emergency contact form for all providers, reaching out to family members quickly, and pinpointing a spokesperson to speak with the media.

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