Criteria for Inclusion on the National Memorial
In 1997, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation sponsored a meeting of the leaders of the major fire service organizations to ask for their assistance with formulating new line-of-duty death criteria to determine eligibility for inclusion on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial. Present at this meeting were representatives from:
National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) United States Fire Administration (USFA) International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Meeting participants unanimously agreed that inclusion on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial as a line-of-duty death shall be determined by the following standards:
In all cases documentation must be provided showing a direct link from an emergency incident, or training activity, to the firefighter's injury and subsequent death. Examples of documentation that can be submitted are: department incident or run reports, newspaper articles, notarized witness statements, hospital records, physician reports, and disability records. For deaths resulting from a heart attack or stroke, documentation must be provided showing the firefighter's participation in emergency response or training activities within the designated time frame (24 hours) before the onset of the cardiovascular event. If the injury or cardiovascular event results in long-term disability or hospitalization, documentation will also be required indicating the individual did not return to full-duty status as a firefighter prior to his or her death.
In certain cases, the Foundation will abstain from rendering a decision regarding eligibility for inclusion on the National Memorial until the Public Safety Officers' Benefits (PSOB) program makes their determination. Such cases are:
If a claim for death benefits has been filed with the PSOB office, the Foundation will hold the case in a "Pending" status until the PSOB renders their decision. If the Department of Justice determines the firefighter's death was line-of-duty based on their guidelines, the Foundation will rule the death eligible for inclusion on the National Memorial. If the Department of Justice determines the firefighter's death does not meet their criteria for payment of death benefits, the Foundation will rule the death ineligible for inclusion on the National Memorial. If no claim for PSOB benefits is filed within one year of the firefighter's death, the Foundation will close out the file as "Not Eligible" for inclusion on the National Memorial.
Specific cases will be excluded from consideration for inclusion on the National Memorial, such as:
Review and Approval Process
Names added to the National Memorial wall each October represent those line-of-duty deaths approved as eligible for inclusion from the previous calendar year (Jan 1- Dec 31). All required documentation for cases in the previous year must be received by June 1st to be considered for inclusion that year. After all documentation is gathered, Foundation staff prepares an initial case determination for review by the Executive Director. The Executive Director then reviews each case and makes the final determination for eligibility of inclusion. Appeals of the Executive Director's decision are reviewed by the Foundation's Board of Directors. Any previous year cases approved after June 1st will be honored the following year, i.e. - a 2010 fatality approved in August 2011 will be honored in 2012.
The criteria used for including a firefighter's name on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial are separate and distinct from the line-of-duty death criteria and presumptive laws used by other agencies, entities or programs to establish line-of-duty death status for other national, state and local memorials or benefit payments.
Acceptance for inclusion on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in no way impacts decisions made by the federal government regarding the awarding of PSOB benefits. For more information about PSOB, their guidelines, and instructions for filing a claim, visit www.psob.gov or call 1-888-744-6513.