Casket donated to Albany Firefighters

Casket donated to Albany Firefighters

An Albany company donates a casket to the Albany Fire Department Tuesday.

The casket will be used by the  Albany Fire Department's honor guard, as they train for funerals.

Albany Fire Department Honor Guard Drill Master Inspector Carlton Russell said "Usually there is nothing said.  Everything is counted.  And then they make the movement."

When firefighters die in the line of duty, or other special cases, they receive a formal service funeral.

The honor guards train for days, usually in Forsyth.  But now Albany Firefighters can train at home, thanks to a donation from the Casket Store.

The Casket Store owner Gregory Harris said "I can give it to the Fire Department for education as well as a training program."

Firefighters say tradition is important as they present honor guard services in the most respectful way.

Albany Fire Chief James Carswell said "How to present the casket in those times is something that is very important.  But without the prop , if you want to call this, you can't practice in real situations.  So it's going to be a tremendous asset."

Russell said "There will actually be 2 of us. We would walk up.  And stop.  He will come to attention, as he has done.  And then I will render salute, and he will bring up same salute."

The six members of the honor guard should move as one through guarding the casket and pall bearer duties.  That takes practice, and firefighters will use their new casket for drills, to be as perfect as possible and show the proper respect during services.The Fire Department will also train and drill with honor guards from other public safety departments around South Georgia.  Officials also plan to let law enforcement use the casket for talks with school groups about the dangers of drugs or reckless driving.

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