Everything that happens immediately after a line-of-duty death affects the way the family, the department, and the community recover from the loss. Lack of resources and planning often adds to the confusion and pain that occurs. The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation thinks the best place for a department to turn for support is within its own state or region. Through a collaborative effort with the Department of Justice, we have developed resources and training to help establish state and regional Local Assistance State Teams (LAST) to assist in the event of a line-of-duty death.
The primary objective of the LAST team is to provide assistance and comfort to the family and department after a line-of-duty death and to help with filing for Federal, state and local benefits. Since October 2006, more than 250 fire service personnel and survivors across the country - in 48 states and the District of Columbia - have been trained to serve on the LAST teams in their state in the event of a line-of-duty death. Members of the wildland community and representatives of the International Association of Fire Chiefs have also participated in the training so they, too, are prepared to assist state teams when necessary.
In 2013 the Foundation will work to bolster existing state teams by holding several regional LAST trainings across the country using FEMA's 10 regions as a guideline. We encourage anyone who requires further information about an existing team to contact their state's designated representative, listed below.
The AZ L.A.S.T. Staff team
Battalion Chief Rich Kochanski
Mesa Fire and Medical Department
Cell: 480-682-7855 Rich.Kochanski@mesaaz.gov
Assistant Chief Pat Abel - Alternate CAST
Golder Ranch Fire District
The NFFF/AFCA LAST Team has had a single trailer in service since 2010 but our ultimate goal was to have three in service in the state. That dream has finally come to fruition thanks to the support of Sharon Knutson-Felix and the 100 Club of Arizona. Please take a look at our fleet of beautiful trailers. One of them is adorned with a memorial to the Fallen 19.
Not only did Sharon and the 100 Club purchase the two new trailers but they donated the funds to wrap and stock them! It goes without saying that the 100 Club has propelled the AZ LAST Team years ahead of where we would have been without their support. Thanks to them we will be better equipped to serve Arizona fire departments in their time of need. Pictured with SFMD Fire Chief Paul Bourgeois is Angela Harrolle, a survivor, who works with the 100 Club and came out to celebrate with us.
Thank you for everyone’s support but especially Sharon Knutson-Felix and the 100 Club for helping us take our team to the next level.