Friday, March 12, 2010

Is Code of Ethics Code Blue?

Or so the would lead us to believe.

But, it comes off as if sounding an alarm to a recent fire service revelation.

And the truth is that many of us have been discussing many of the areas of concern for some time. I can tell you that the hot topic of firefighter arson has been on the discussion boards since at least 2001.

Am I to believe that people who apply for firefighter positions have to be reminded that, as firefighters, they will be held to higher moral and ethical standards?

Unless they recently crawled out of a cave, I would think that, if nothing else in the job description is known, “held in the public’s trust” would be a tacit thought at the very least.

What fire departments have to do is to screen out the candidates who might have an ulterior motive for joining a fire department, which is to use the position of trust to commit crimes. (See

When departments are making poor decisions to recruit and retain members, why would we expect that same department to make GOOD decisions when a firefighter has been caught committing a serious criminal act?

Fire departments keep their dirty little secrets “internal” for one of two reasons: either they honestly believe that they have the wherewithal to appropriately deal with it or they are hiding and hoping; that is, hiding it from the public and hoping that it will go away on its own.

The Fire Service Reputation Management White Paper Report was delivered with an almost wide-eyed astonishment. No disrespect is intended, but, in my mind, it was never a question of whether our lofty moral and ethical characters were taking a hit with each new firefighter arrest, but when, as a nation of firefighters, we were going to collectively do something about it.

A code of ethics has always been there. Unfortunately, it took a back seat to money and manpower discussions. And it’s ironic, but ethics has everything to do with money and manpower.

Sometimes we can’t see the forest through the trees.
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