The Palm Coast Fire Department Honor Guard was established in 2001 by members of the department. The City of Palm Coast Fire Department Honor Guard was established to represent the members of its department, their families and the citizens that we protect and serve. This will be accomplished by utilizing our fire department core values: professionalism, pride, precision and perfection.
The mission of Palm Coast Fire Department Honor Guard is to serve as representatives of the Fire Department at formal occasions as directed by the Fire Chief. The Honor Guard projects a positive image of the Department and its members by performing as a well trained professional team at local and national events. The Honor Guard is dedicated to honoring fallen firefighters, their families, and Department members, past and present.
The Palm Coast Fire Department Honor Guard is the official Honor Guard of the Emergency Medical Service's Program at Daytona State College. In addition, the Honor Guard presents the Nation's Colors at all City Events. The Palm Coast Fire Department Honor Guard are the coordinators for all ceremonies at Heroes Memorial Park.
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. Sadly on December 3, 2010 the Palm Coast Fire Department Honor Guard responded to its first active department member to pass away. Volunteer Firefighter-Paramedic was tragically killed an off duty motor vehicle crash. The Honor Guard carried out all the honors and services entitled to an active duty firefighter.
Since then, the Palm Coast Fire Department Honor Guard was requested to assist with the Line of Duty Deaths of two Florida Forestry Firefighters, Flagler County Sheriff's Office, Saint John's County Fire Rescue and Deland Fire Department.
The Palm Coast Fire Department Honor Guard recognizes the need to promote professionalism, honor and integrity. Honor Guard Members give of their service and time to honor the long standing tradition of brotherhood in the Fire Service.
Patrick J. Juliano
Lt. Richard Cline
Tolling of the Bell
Long before the Internet was invented, or telephones and radios were used across our great nation, fire departments used the telegraph to communicate - using special codes to receive fire alarms from those once-familiar red fire alarm boxes which stood on practically every street corner of America.
When a firefighter was killed, or in the language of the military and public safety: "fell", in the line of duty, the fire alarm office would tap out a special signal. This would be tapped out as five measured dashes - then a pause - then five measured dashes - then a pause - then five more measured dashes.
This came to be called the Tolling of the Bell and was broadcast over the telegraph fire alarm circuits to all station houses in the vicinity. Heard outside on the streets - with the fire department's windows open, the resonating echo was similar to that of fire stations of old where fire alarm gongs sounded the locations of thousands of emergencies throughout the history of our growing country.
This was done for the purpose of notification, and as a sign of honor and respect for all firefighters who had made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their communities. Such symbolism has been a time-honored fire service tradition and is repeated at each service of a fallen firefighter.
Throughout most of history, the lives of firefighters have been closely associated with the ringing of a bell. As they began their hours of duty, it was the bell that started if off.
Through the day and night, each alarm was sounded by a bell, that called them to fight fire and to place their lives in jeopardy for the good of their fellow man. And when the fire was out, and the alarm had come to an end, the bell rang three times to signal the end.
And now our Brothers Frederick Gleissner & Lt. Robert Weiners have completed their task, their duties well done, and the bell rings three times in memory of, and, in tribute to, their life and service.
Bagpipes at Fire Department Funerals
The tradition of bagpipes being played at fire department funerals in the United States goes back over one hundred and fifty years. When the Irish and Scottish immigrated to this country, they brought many of their traditions with them. One of these was the bagpipe, often played at Celtic weddings, funerals and dances.
It wasn't until the great potato famine and massive Irish immigration to the East Coast of the United States that the tradition of the pipes really took hold in fire departments. Factories and shops had signs reading "NINA" meaning No Irish Need Apply. The only jobs they could get were the ones no one else wanted -- jobs that were dirty, dangerous or both -- firefighters and police officers. It was not an uncommon event to have several firefighters killed at a working fire. The Irish firefighter's funerals were typical of all Irish funerals-the pipes were played. It was somehow okay for a hardened firefighter to cry at the sound of pipes when his dignity would not let him weep for a fallen comrade.
Those who have been to funerals when bagpipes play know how haunting and mournful the sound of the pipes can be. Before too long, families and friends of non-Irish firefighters began asking for the piper to play for these fallen heroes. The pipes add a special air and dignity to the solemn occasion.
Today, the tradition is universal and not just for the Irish or Scottish. The pipes have come to be a distinguishing feature of a fallen hero's funeral.
Excerpted from Ohio Fire Chief, July 1997