How to lead your department through a LODD

By Dennis Rubin


By the time a person has struggled to the top firefighter position, that member has managed a lot of issues. It is likely that the fire chief has experienced about everything under the sun.

Whether managing a complicated administrative process or handling a complex emergency response, the hope is that the chief has been there and done that, at least once.

According to NFPA figures, there were more than 370,000 structural fires in 2011. In addition to fires and rescues, each year career and volunteer fire chiefs oversee some type of budgetary and other administrative processes.

As the chief settles into the “routine of the position” (if there is such a thing), there are not too many surprises happening in the corner office. Then, on the most horrible day of an entire fire service career, the department experiences a line of duty death.

I don’t know anyone who has the experience to be comfortable handling a LODD. After the initial shock and stress of learning that a member’s precious life has been lost, time will seem to speed up and the department will be tested to its breaking point.

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