History: The Honor Guard was formed in 1994. Captains Tim Putich and Jack Pritchard made a recommendation to form a team and it was immediately approved by Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman. In 1996, then Fire Fighter Joey Reed assumed command of the team. Since its inception hundreds of County Firefighters have served on the Honor Guard. The team has expanded to a 50-member roster, including firefighters from each rank of the fire service. The Honor Guard utilizes an Incident Command System structured for funerals and memorials and is working on a specific field operations guidebook for large scale events. The group has become known well-known as one of the largest and most organized Honor Guard teams in the United States.
Requirements: Honor Guard openings are posted when several vacancies are created. Members must meet minimum participation requirements to receive promotional credit points. The team conducts six training meetings a year. Members must also purchase their own dress uniforms within six months of appointment to the Honor Guard. Members volunteer to participate both on and off duty.
Activity: The Honor Guard participates in several types of events. The team performs colors details at civic occasions, such as public parades, sporting events and other special community events as requested. They also perform colors details at many Fire Department events such as dedications, graduations, and awards ceremonies. The Honor Guard plans, organizes, and performs at funeral and memorial services for Department members. The team also assists other agencies with funeral and memorial services. Members of the Honor Guard have participated in state and national events, such as the Worcester Memorial, FDNY Memorial, California Fallen Firefighters Memorial, and the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial. Captain Joey Reed currently serves on the California Fallen Firefighters Memorial Committee. Members have also trained with the United States Marine Corp, 8th & “I” Barracks, in Washington D.C. The team currently performs at thirty to fifty events a year.
Equipment: The Honor Guard uses various types of equipment in the performance of its duties. Chromed axes, pulaskis, and brush hooks are used as ceremonial guard weapons. Captain Joey Reed and Fire Fighter Dirk Chausse designed custom ramps and casket racks for funeral services. Custom decks were also designed to provide safe and professional ceremonies at cemeteries. The ramps and decks were fabricated by the Department Carpenter Shop and the racks were fabricated by the Department Welding Shop. This equipment is custom made and the best known to exist in the United States fire service. The equipment is made available to neighboring agencies for line of duty funerals.