At its February 2015 board of directors meeting, the New York State Association of Fire Chaplains, Inc. issued a statement to clarify the proper usage of a mourning band for chaplains. The official protocol states, "Out of respect for the role of the fire/EMS chaplain, at no time and under no circumstances is the badge of the fire/EMS chaplain to be covered."
The New York State Association of Fire Chaplains board of directors was asked for clarification after a number of chaplains and departments were confused over whether a chaplain should wear a mourning band when officiating or attending a service where mourning bands are worn.
Chief Chaplain Ken Hessel stated, "The chaplain's badge includes a religious symbol indicating the faith of the chaplain and whether the symbol is the Cross, Star of David, Crescent, or any other identifying symbol, it is disrespectful to that faith to cover up the symbol of that faith."
The mission of the New York State Association of Fire Chaplains is to unite all chaplains of the state of New York in order to promote a deeper and wider knowledge of one another in the true ecumenical and interfaith spirit and to establish statewide procedures of standardization in serving our fellow firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, and God, our supreme chief.