End of Watch. EOW. The final call. It’s not something that we want to think about. You prepare and train in hopes of preventing it. You exercise, eat right in hopes of pushing it back, but it’s something that will happen to all of us (on duty or off). How do we prepare?
Some organizations have guidelines for a Line of Duty death. Maybe some help you prepare for how to minimize the impact it will have on your family. No one wants their family to have to make the arrangements, so here is a checklist to help minimize the confusion surrounding our End of Watch. This was written by Wives Behind the Badge, Inc, but this could just as easily apply to Fire, EMS or even non-responders (AKA, the rest of us).
Note: Keep in mind that just because YOU know where things are, it is likely no one else will. Have this information in DETAIL. Specifics. When you say the “desk drawer”, you might know it’s the bottom left, but your grieving family may now or forget in all the confusion and grief. A little pain for you to make it easier for them.
Table of Contents (showing what documents are in the folder and listing important documents stored elsewhere)
II. Copies of forms filed at the office/department (for example – CHP Forms 102 and 611B)
III. Contact Sheets
A. Department/Agency/Union contacts (direct lines and cell numbers)
B. Family contact list (including who you’ve chosen as your family spokesperson) *make sure to note who is to take care of your children in the immediate and the long-term.
C. Friend contact list *make sure to note who needs to be contacted right away and how you would prefer they be contacted.
D. Other contacts (insurance agents, lawyers, accountants, estate executor, etc)
IV. Legal Documents
A. Last Will & Testament
B. Advanced Health Directive
D. Power of Attorney
E. List of locations for deeds, titles, insurance policies, etc.
A. List of all bank, credit, and investment accounts (including usernames and passwords and PINs)
B. List of all safe-deposit boxes and locations of keys
C. List of insurance policies (with policy numbers and contact information) that includes a benefit amount breakdown for each
D. List of local, state, and federal LODD benefits *note – the state and federal benefit information can be found at www.nationalcops.org
E. Copies of forms showing beneficiaries for life insurance policies
A. List of all online accounts (email, etc) that includes usernames and passwords
B. List of all important serial numbers (guns, electronics, vehicles, etc)
C. List of other important numbers (social security, passport, driver license, etc)
D. List of important passcodes (safes, alarm codes, etc)
E. List of guns you own, their locations, and any notes about them
F. Other important notes for your spouse/family (ex: on caring for your home or animals, etc)
G. Personal letters to family & friends
VII. Final Arrangements
A. Type of services desired (funeral, memorial, wake, viewing, rosary, burial, graveside, cremation, etc)
B. Preferred mortuary & cemetery
C. Preferred Officiant (chaplain, minister, pastor, priest, rabbi, other) & their contact info
D. Preferred musical selections(Note: Don’t say “Our Song”. State it specifically as this list may be handed off to others for help. Remember, the idea is no guessing for your family.)
E. Preferred eulogist and speakers
F. Preferred charity contributions
G. Pall bearers, if applicable
H. Preferred Law Enforcement Protocols (honor guard, etc)
I. Letters to be read at services
Thanks again to Wives Behind the Badge, Inc.
If you have some tips to add, comment or let me know.