Thanks for stopping by. For over 300 years the Fire Service in America has built its reputation on Service to Others, Bravery and Compassion for those whom we serve. Time and time again public opinion polls suggest that other than the family we are the most trusted institution in the nation. Unfortunately the improper actions of a very small minority of our members is damaging that very reputation that those before us worked so hard to establish. FirefighterBehavior.com is dedicated to stopping that negative trend by raising awareness of this. Our goal is to offer strategies that will prevent, detect and correct incidents of improper conduct and preserve the public trust.
As you read the incidents and articles contained on this site we ask you to consider the following;
How would this incident reflect upon your organization or you as it is disclosed to the public and how do you respond to comments about the situation from your community, family and friends?
If you were the Chief or Officer in Charge, how would you feel about the situation and what would be your response?
Does the behavior involved bring value to your organization or help you to gain or continue receiving the public support for your department?
Because not all of the news is bad, we are happy when we find reports of firefighter conduct that brings honor to themselves, their department and the fire service. It is our wish that this site would be dominated by these reports. Perhaps someday it will be.
The American fire and emergency services has a very proud tradition of serving communities across our nation that dates back to colonial times. Throughout our nation's history, firefighters have been looked upon with great respect and admiration for their courage and dedication to their profession. To preserve the public trust, a National Firefighter Code of Ethics was developed by a group of fire service leaders that calls on individual firefighters to pledge their support for maintaining the highest level of professionalism and behavior.
The idea for the Code was initially proposed in the Fire Service Reputation Management White Paper published by the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen's Association (CVVFA). Since then, the idea gained momentum and received support from the highest echelon of fire service leadership
We may never have the opportunity again and I urge all fire service leaders to develop, establish, disseminate, abide and enforce a fire service code of ethics, said then-U.S. Fire Administrator Kelvin Cochran in 2010.
The Code is a guide for acceptable behavior already practiced by all but a very small percentage of the fire service. Isolated events that have occurred across the country involving lapses in ethical judgment by fire service personnel, led to the Code of Ethics being developed. It was the brainchild of the National Society of Executive Fire Officers (NSEFO) and has since gained the support of a number of local, state and national organizations, as well as prominent fire service leaders.
The Code of Ethics serves to remind our brethren firefighters of our moral and ethical obligation to the profession as well as to the people we serve" said CVVFA Past President Steve Austin. â€œThe public places great trust in our profession and we need to exercise good judgment in order to preserve that trust. The Code of Ethics can serve as a compass to guide us in that direction.
With the support of various fire service organizations, the Code will be distributed throughout the fire service. Individual firefighters are encouraged to sign the Code and keep it in view to remind themselves each day of their pledge to the highest standards of professionalism and behavior.
Click on the Title of this Story and Download the Code of Ethics
VFIS, in conjunction with the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Fireman’s Association (CVVFA) has developed an awareness training course on Emergency Service Reputation Risk, that can be taken on-line at the VFIS Distance Learning Center at vfis.sju.edu. The program is a formalization of the conference seminars conducted by Dr. Bill Jenaway of VFIS and Steve Austin of CVVFA on the topic. Bill and Steve have been instrumental in the research, development and release of information related to the topic resulting in a white paper released by CVVFA, which is part of the course. The program is offered at not cost, courtesy of VFIS and CVVFA. To access the class you must visit the VFIS Distance Learning site at vfis.sju.edu and complete the registration process. You can then take the opportunity to complete the course. Click on the title of this article to access the direct link to the course.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
LOWNDES CO., AL
A Montgomery firefighter was arrested Friday following a high speed chase through Lowndes County, authorities are confirming.
Alabama State Troopers say 21-year-old James Green of Burkville was riding a sport bike on Alabama 21 when Troopers witnessed him driving recklessly.
Troopers tell WSFA 12 News they clocked Green doing 140 mph in a 55 mph zone.
Authorities attempted to initiate a stop of Green's motorcycle through a high speed chase that stretched a distance of approximately eight miles.
The firefighter now faces attempting to elude law enforcement and reckless endangerment charges. Several traffic citations are also pending including operating the motorcycle without a license plate.
The City of Montgomery issued a statement saying, "The Montgomery Department of Public Safety was notified of the arrest by Alabama State Troopers. Montgomery Fire and Rescue is initiating appropriate disciplinary action and a parallel investigation of this incident."
Green is being held at the Lowndes County Jail.
Friday, May 17, 2013
A former fire chief and his wife were indicted on felony charges Thursday, according to documents obtained from Fayette County Court.
Court clerks confirmed that the former chief of Smithers Volunteer Fire Department, Timothy M. Whittington, was indicted on one count of embezzlement. His wife, Patricia A. Whittington, was indicted on one count of fraudulent schemes.
A grand jury gathered enough evidence to believe that Whittington embezzled money from the department between July 21, 2010 and September 6, 2012, according to a copy of the indictment.
Former chief Timothy Whittington admitted to our cameras last year that he had used fire department funds to pay his personal bills that totaled nearly $4,000.
He said he and his wife plugged the fire department's checking information into their online bill pay and continued to use that account for a period of about three months.
Whittington said it was an honest mistake and that he took out a loan and paid the department back. Officials said Whittington stepped down from his post in January 2013.
The pair will be arraigned in Fayette County Court on Friday, May 24.
"I just want to emphasize he doesn't represent the volunteer fire service," said Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper. "This is an example of bad conduct of one or two people. It's an allegation, nonetheless, but he does not represent our fire service."
The Kanawha County Commission had funneled more than $10,000 a year to the Smithers Volunteer Fire Department, according to Carper. He said the county stopped giving the station money last year.
Some local residents said even an allegation of embezzlement worries them.
"It's just sad," said Mariah Tully, of Smithers. "There's not much money in this town. Maybe they think it's so small people will help them cover it up."
Thomas Scaggs, the mayor of Smithers, said he knew the West Virginia State Police launched an investigation into the alleged embezzlement.
"I already knew," Scaggs said. "I knew it was going to happen."
Scaggs said he always liked the Whittingtons, maintaining that he believes Timothy made a mistake.
The former chief admitted he had withdrawn money from the department's account instead of his own and returned the money almost immediately, according to Scaggs. The mayor said that night, he called Smithers City Council into executive session.
Scaggs could not say how long Whittington waited to inform officials after he withdrew the funds.
They mayor said he did not play an integral role in the investigation because the station doesn't technically answer to his office.
Smithers VFD is an incorporated volunteer fire department, which means the station answers to their own board of directors and receives some funding from the state and county commission. Scaggs said while he technically holds no jurisdiction over Smithers VFD , he hopes the city can openly communicate with fire officials in the future.
"We have to work together," Scaggs said. "They don't feel like they have to report anything to me, which is unfair to us, we need to know what's going on."
An acting chief--a Smithers city councilman--was elected to oversee the department. Scaggs said the department just formed a new board of directors that could soon elect a permanent chief.
Stay with us for the latest details on this developing story.
Friday, May 17, 2013
The Washington County Sheriff's Office said McIntosh volunteer Fire Chief Robert Davidson has been arrested and charged with harassment. He has since bonded out.
The McIntosh Police Department said at the end of a town council meeting Tuesday, May 14, an altercation began between McIntosh Mayor Wilbert Dixon and Davidson.
"Mr. Davidson is accused of hitting the mayor of McIntosh in the back. I think the mayor of McIntosh turned around started towards him and I understand one of the McIntosh officers got in between them and broke it up,” said Washington County Chief Deputy Ferrell Grimes.
Grimes said the altercation was about a fire department issue.
Police confirmed there is surveillance of the incident. FOX10 News asked to see it. However, McIntosh officials declined, saying they will not release it because it was being used as evidence in the investigation.
We will continue to request the video.
Ronnie Rutledge is also facing a harassment charge stemming from the incident. The sheriff’s office does not know how he is related to the fire department.
"Mr. Rutledge made a comment to the mayor (stating) his house was going to burn down,” Grimes said.
The Davidson family disputes the charges. In a statement to FOX10 they said Davidson "did not hit Dixon in the back - he patted him three times with an open palm while stating, 'Good luck in finding your new fire chief.' Davidson stated his patting the mayor was not a malice intent."
The family included a quote from Davidson.
"This is very misfortunate for our department and our town. We have fine young men and women that represent McIntosh VFD. I hope and pray that they will continue forward with the protection and service of our community. Sadly enough, I have been told approximately 20 firefighters have quit,” the statement said.
We asked Mayor Dixon for a comment, but he declined.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
A Louisville man has launched a program to donate patient transport wagons to Kosair Children's Hospital.
David Taylor is a retired firefighter and EMT of Rural/Metro Ambulance and his wife said he was inspired when their granddaughter was released from Kosair after a three-month stay. Taylor’s granddaughter was unable to leave in a wagon due to a shortage. Ever since, Taylor has led the way for more to be made and donated.
The wagons are used to transport children around and out of the hospital in a safe and fun way.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
EAST ST. LOUIS, MO
A veteran East St. Louis firefighter who was charged in Texas with drug possession has been terminated by the East St. Louis Police and Fire Board.
Khari Sharp, a 10-year veteran of the department, said he plans to appeal. His lawyer, Eric Kayira, argued he did not have time to prepare an adequate defense.
This firing, which came late Tuesday night after a meeting of the board, was not due to the pending drug charges. Fire Chief Jason Blackmon recommended that Sharp be terminated for disobeying a direct order to go with Assistant Chief Derrick Burns and Union Local 23 President Brandon Walls to Memorial Hospital in Belleville to take a drug test. The test must be taken within an hour after an order is issued, according to the union contract. Blackmon issued the order on March 14.
Four days earlier, Sharp was charged in Texas with possession of marijuana. Police reported they found $50,000 in cash on him.
By not obeying Blackmon's order, Blackmon said, "He violated the East St. Louis Fire Department's agreement with the union, which says an employee who refuses to comply with an order to submit to a drug or alcohol test based upon reasonable suspicion within one hour shall be subject to discharge for insubordination."
Sharp was given an order to go take a drug test and said, "Let's do this," according to testimony at the board hearing. He left the office with Burns and Walls, but asked Walls if he could move his vehicle, which he said was parked in front of a fire hydrant. Wall said he could do so and told him he'd meet him in front of the building. Wall went to the front of the building to wait for Sharp. Burns also went to get his vehicle and joined Walls in the front of the building. They said Sharp never showed up.
Burns testified that he and Walls drove around at least three times looking for Sharp, but they never found him. At one point they drove to Engine House 425 where Sharp was working before he was called to Blackmon's office. He was not there. Walls tried calling Sharp on several occasions and did not get an answer.
"At some point, Walls said he got a hold of Sharp and Sharp told him he had an emergency and had four hours to go to the hospital according to the contract. At another time, he told Walls he was going to see his pastor and another time he said he was going to check himself into drug rehabilitation at Gateway Hospital, Wall testified.
Sharp testified that he was not aware he had only one hour to take the test.
Sharp, under questioning by Rice, said he arrived at Memorial Hospital before 11 a.m., went to the emergency room where he thought he was to take the test and later fond out he was in the wrong place. He said he went to Belleville Memorial Hospital and didn't see Walls or Burns and later took the test. He said he didn't remember the names of the people he saw in the emergency room or at the drug testing site. He didn't produce any documents at the hearing to support his claims.
"I am disappointed by the board's decision," Sharp said afterward. "The hearing to me seemed more personal than professional. My counsel and I are exploring subsequent options including review and formal action."
Kayira said Walls and Burns disobeyed a direct order by not taking Sharp directly to Memorial Hospital and allowing him to leave them to move his vehicle from the fire hydrant.
After the meeting, the commissioners -- Jessie Davis, the Rev. Johnny Scott, Ramonda Fleming, Larry Hampton, Sr. and board chairman Virge Riley -- said the evidence was clear: Sharp disobeyed the chief's direct order. They said they did not believe his statement that he didn't know what the policy said about drug testing.
Blackmon said Sharp was a good firefighter and that the decision was not personal.
Copyright 2013 - Belleville News-Democrat
Thursday, May 16, 2013
LOS ANGELES, CA
A former Compton firefighter who once appeared on a reality television show has been arrested on suspicion of grand theft and of trying to set his fire department's headquarters ablaze to destroy evidence.
Former Deputy Fire Chief Marcel Melanson was being held on $250,000 bail Thursday after being arrested at home Wednesday.
A Los Angeles County Sheriff's statement says the 37-year-old is accused of stealing radios worth thousands of dollars that were part of a stalled communications upgrade.
Melanson is accused of selling the radios on the Internet, then setting the fire on Dec. 11 to destroy the remaining evidence.
His chief had suspicions and asked the Sheriff's Department to investigate.
Melanson, who had appeared on the BET reality series "First In," was fired from the department after 15 years.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/Former-Compton-firefighter-arrested-in-arson-4524191.php#ixzz2TYjevznE
Thursday, May 16, 2013
BOILING SPRING LAKES, NC
Police say two more people have been arrested in connection with a prostitution case in Boiling Spring Lakes, including a firefighter. Meanwhile, investigators say a police officer arrested in the case was robbed during the incident in question.
Boiling Spring Lakes Police Chief Bradford Shirley said Richard Kyle Mulligan, 23, a member of the Boiling Spring Lakes Volunteer Fire Department, is charged with participating in prostitution of a minor. Police say Mulligan turned himself in today to the magistrate's office.
Boiling Spring Lakes Police Det. Rick Spencer says in November, then Northwest Police officer Michael Hayes was texting with the 17-year-old prostitute, who told him she'd be walking along a dirt road and what she was wearing so he could pick her up.
Spencer says after Hayes picked the girl up, he drove her to another location, where he exchanged money for a sex act. During the encounter, police say three men tried to rob Hayes and shot into his car.
Police have charged Matthew Dillon Vaczy, Shawn Conley and Kyle Bradley Wolfe in connection with the attempted robbery. They are also charged in connection with a home break-in in BSL a week earlier. with a dangerous weapon, breaking and entering and larceny of a firearm. Conley and Wolfe have been in jail since May 4 charged with two counts each of promoting prostitution of a minor.
Spencer says Wolfe and Conley were friends in prison, and that when they got out, they started pimping. He says they started with one girl, but has expanded to involve more.
The SBI also charged Hayes with filing a false report based on information investigators say he gave a Brunswick County Sheriff's deputy about the damage to his car. Police say Hayes did not report the robbery to police. Instead investigators developed the information through the ongoing prostitution investigation and forwarded it on to the SBI.
"His name came up as part of the investigation, and once his name came up we immediately contacted the SBI," Spencer said. "We wanted no part of it because of his position with the police department."
We went by Hayes's home in Southport today for his side of the story, but no one came to the door.
Police say the 17-year-old girl has not been charged, because she is a minor who was forced into prostitution.
If you have any information, you're asked to call Boiling Spring Lakes Police at (910) 845-2247.
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