Deputy Chief Steve Prziborowski

Firefighter Code of Ethics – All Future / Current Firefighters Can Learn From This

In today’s daily Firehouse Magazine email (a great, free resource to keep you informed of fire service news stories), there was a great article that ALL current and future firefighters can learn from that is based on the actions of a small number of firefighters that are causing a black eye for the majority of firefighters who are trying to do the right thing.

It is a piece on the “Firefighter Code of Ethics,” and here are the opening comments:

News of firefighter misconduct seems to make it into headlines nearly every day.

Instead of sitting idly by and complaining that any wrongdoing, large or small, gives all responders a black eye, a group of veteran firefighters decided to do something.

The Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association (CVVFA) with the assistance of National Society of Executive Fire Officers has created a National Firefighter Code of Ethics.

Please take the time to read it, including the items under the list that comprise the Firefighter Code of Ethics.

Besides being the right thing to do, these items will not only assist you with getting hired, but staying hired and free from discipline. Learn from the good and also the not-so-good that other firefighters are doing so you can be the best you can be, and more importantly, you can be the most positive role model you can be – and someone your department and community is always proud to say they hired (unfortunately that is not the case for everyone hired).

Lastly, most oral interview boards will ask some type of question(s) relating to ethical issues you may face (stealing, alcohol, drug use, cheating, etc.). Besides having to have an answer on how you will address the issue in an ethical manner with nothing but integrity and respect, candidates that tend to score higher usually are able to tie in real-life situations from their experience or from experiences they have read about or heard about. Being able to paraphrase from a document such as this can help increase your scores if you properly show how the ethical issue you are asked about is inappropriate and is giving the fire service a black eye. It’s one thing to say something is inappropriate, illegal, unethical, or whatever similar term you’re thinking about – it’s another to back it up with facts and real-life situations.

For those of you who are wondering why this was even written because you are thinking that these issues would never occur because firefighters don’t do these things – please wake up, smell the coffee, and accept the fact that we are human, like everyone else. Firefighters put their pants on the same way as everyone else does, and unfortunately we have members that do inappropriate and/or unethical things at times, just like every other profession and that we all need to do what we can to preserve our reputation to ensure we continue to be a respected and credible profession, and one that is taken seriously.

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