CAL-LAst Team Aids Three Departments in 2017


A line of duty death is one of the most traumatic experiences that a department or local can endure, and when the unthinkable does occur, leadership is often faced with a mounting list of questions about what to do next. 

Three departments found themselves in that unfortunate circumstance in 2017,and were able to navigate the tragedy thanks to the assistance of the California Last Alarm Service Team (Cal-LAST). Last year, Cal-LAST provided Santa Cruz, Rio Vista and Garden Grove Fire with comprehensive support after losing one of their own in the line of duty.

“Experiencing a line of duty death can be overwhelming,” said Foundation Chair Lou Paulson. “There’s a lot of things that need to happen at the same time, and having the support and experience of Cal-LAST can help those that have lost one of their own during the times they need it most.”

Developed in conjunction with the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation’s Local Assistance State Team (L.A.S.T.) program, Cal-LAST provides departments and locals with a team of individuals who can assist with every aspect of a line-of-duty death funeral.

The primary mission of the team is to provide assistance and comfort to the family and department. All other aspects of team functionality are secondary, but are made available because of the possible needs of the families and the fire service throughout the country during a critical time.

The California Fire Foundation has been designated as the exclusive administrator of this unique and comprehensive line-of-duty death assistance program for the state of California. Funding for this program is provided by the Department of Justice.

“Cal-LAST provides comprehensive support to California fire departments that have experienced an indescribable loss,” Paulson said. “It’s an honor to help provide this critical service, and a testament to bonds present within the California fire service.”