Thread: number of bells

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    Default number of bells

    Can someone please tell me the correct number of 5 bells that need ring at a firefighter funeral service? I have heard 3 sets and 4 sets. Thanks.

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    I am with the Honor Guard in my department. We use a memorial service for fd honor guards. It states we should ring the bell 3 times, 3rings. That would be nine total rings.

    At our yearly memorial that honors those who passed away during the previous year, on duty and off, we ring the bell once after each name is stated.

    If you would like a copy of our LODD memorial procedure, I would be glad to email the file to you.

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    The bells should symbolize that a signal 5-5-5-5 has been transmitted, therefore, 4 sets of five tolls should be sounded.

    Striking the Four Fives

    The fire service is rich with ceremony, custom, and tradition. The custom of rendering final honors has its origins in the fire department of the city of New York, where many years ago, long before the advent of radios or pagers, fire alarms and daily announcements were dispatched from central headquarters to outlying firehouses by a system of bell commands and telegraph.

    Each different type of alarm or announcement would have its own number and series of bell strikes. When a firefighter died in the line of duty or when some important official or personage died, headquarters would transmit five bell strikes, repeated in four series, with a slight pause between each series, followed by the announcement. This was done as long ago as 1865 in the New York City Fire Department to inform the rank and file of the death of Abraham Lincoln.

    The custom has continued down to the present day and this form of rendering final honors to departed comrades is known in the fire service as "STRIKING THE FOUR FIVES".
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    As a member of a Honor Guard we reseached the web to find out the number of rings for the tolling. It seemed that each department had their own which was unique within thier department. We choose to go with the 3-3-3 and followed by the playing of "Amazing Grace".

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    Default bells, etc.

    we seem to have a regional conflict, with regard to the numbers... As a founding officer of My state's Premere Pipe band, I tend to agree with NJFFS_A16, And go with the FDNY tradition of 5-5-5-5
    which comes from the use/tramsmission of a LOD on the Gamewell system.... typically on those systems series of 2's would be recall and line tests, second alarms 2-2 and the box location, 3-3 were 3rd alarms 4-4 forth alarms etc. 3-3-3 could in some areas signify a 3rd alarm for box 3 or for 33...

    4 sequenced "rounds" of 5 is distinct and can be sounded in slow, as well as relativly quick time and still be quite unlike anything else.... whereas 3 rounds of three really needs to be done slowly and evenly or it is very obvious....

    and there can be a little bit of pressure on he who is tolling the bell, knowing that he is doing so in front of 10,000 people or better.... (I think Back to the Pipe Major of the Boston Gaelic fire brigade, who after playing his solo version of Amazing Grace at the Worchester service easily playing in the Centrum Autitorium, televised, how well he sounded...prior to the rest of the band joining him, it truely was awesome)
    typically, Amazing Grace should be part of the Mass itself and shouldn't be a recessional,,, Amazing Grace
    also has its place at graveside, and should played After, Taps (military honors first) , but a distinct moment of the ceremony... for memorial services, other than with he who is actually being memorialized, or at other memorials in general, they are more flexible, but still Amazing Grace should fall in part of the ceremony, and not as the last thing that happens before the reccessional.... if your not using a pipe band and using an organist or singer, it should still fall in arond the same time, no matter the denomination,... (if it is denominational)

    anyway, 5-5-5-5 has its roots in FDNY, personally, that would be my choice, but I suppose the 3-3-3 works if thats what your accustomed to hearing , and I believe that 3-3-3 is a tradition adopted from Navy ceremonies... adapted for use in the Fire Service, after being used for Naval vets who were on the job... (ship board bells to mark the time)

    Jim
    "putting wet stuff on the red stuff over 25 years"

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    Default Re: number of bells

    Originally posted by parttime
    Can someone please tell me the correct number of 5 bells that need ring at a firefighter funeral service? I have heard 3 sets and 4 sets.
    With all due respect to everyone here...re-read the question.
    In other words...How many sets of 5 bells need ring?

    If you are using the "5 Bell tradition" then the answer would be four sets. Yes...I acknowledge the fact that there are other traditions, however, I based my reply on that premise.

    I guess it really doesn't matter....just be there to honor our fallen brothers!
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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