A "Partner in Progress"

What's your background check policy?

Monday, April 18, 2016   ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, VA

Before you offer a position to a new firefighter, do you conduct a background check? What about when you promote current staff into a new position, do you run another one? Or what about the firefighter that's been with your department for years, do you ever run another one on him/her?  Running it just once may or may not reflect what you need to know about your staff.  Click on the title of this article and follow the link to read about how one individual is in some hot water and the county was lucky to uncover some truth....



Long list of disciplinary issues leaves a firefighter in hot water

Wednesday, April 6, 2016   MELBOURNE, FL

A firefighter is in trouble once again, only this time it may cost him his career.  In the past three years he has been reprimanded for taking the fire engine to a picnic at his girlfriend's home while on duty, taking his crew golfing while on duty, driving on an active airport runway vs the one being dispatched to, and most recently for 'hastily placed or tossed' oxygen cylinder while tending to a patient.  Click on the title of this article and follow the link to the news article to read more about the troubles he is facing. Put yourself in the Fire Chief's shoes and ask the hard questions of, 'how would I respond if this were one of my firefighters,' and does your company policies address this type of activity?



Boy Scout was Hungry for Fire

Tuesday, April 5, 2016   FAIR HAVEN, NJ

Becoming a Boy Scout and earning merit badges is an honorable act. You learn and strive to better yourself, your community, and your country.  The same is said of the volunteer fire service who dedicate countless hours and their lives to protecting & serving their community.  What you would not expect is that someone who thrives in both of those worlds would make a choice to do something of the total opposite.  When the fire department leadership  learned that one of their own 19yo firefighters and former Boy Scout was being charged with starting a fire that they responded to, they were shocked. Moral of this story, even though you have  an honorable background, it doesn't make you exempt from making poor choices. What do you do in your department to build relationships and educate yourself on warning signs of poor choices on the horizon?  Click on the title of this article and follow the link to read the complete news article. 



Wedding invitation sparks a fire

Monday, April 4, 2016   GARFIELD, NJ

What is your department's photo policy? Do you have one? Is it strict enough? Is it too strict? If you don't, you may want to begin developing one and consider this story in your discussions.  A future bride posted a photo on social media announcing their wedding and featured in the photo was his and hers turnout coats.  The Fire Chief called the bride and advised her to take it off social media or face suspension per the photo policy. Click on the title of this article and then follow the link to watch the news video footage for more.  



Asst Chief who gives back regularly is now facing theft charges

Friday, February 26, 2016   CLEARWATER, FL

It can only take one action, one accusation, one conviction or one rumor to ruin all of your positive influence in the community. An Assistant Chief at Clearwater Fire & Rescue is facing that exact situation. Even though he was just recognized by a local civic club for his dedication to the community, and the hours he spends off duty to help others, he is facing theft charges from a convenience store. Click on the title of this article and follow the links to read the entire article from FL.

While this department seems prepared to handle the influx of concern from the public and the leadership, would your department be ready to respond to this type of incident?  What can be done to mitigate this type of situation? 



Is your bylaws current with technology?

Friday, February 19, 2016   WEST MIILFORD, NJ

The fire department treasurer was arrested after discovering approximately $36k of missing funds, allegedly utilized by the treasurer for personal gain via online banking and debit card associated with the department's bank account.

Having a good check and balance system is critical in the financial aspect of the fire department. Most companies have by-laws that require two signatures on department issued checks, which is good!  However, is your by-laws current with today's technology capabilities such as online banking, debit and credit cards??

Click on the title of the article and follow the links to read the complete article. 



Former Asst Chief indicted

Tuesday, February 9, 2016   LINCOLNTON, NC

The news first reported the possibility of embezzlement by a former Assistant Chief in September, and now that Asst Chief has been indicted.  He was the Treasurer at the time of the Lincoln County chapter of Burned Children Fund.

Place yourself in the leadership position of the President, and you arrive at the bank and discover a lot of missing money from the fund. What would your next step be? How will you approach leadership team and your colleague?

Click on the title of the article and follow the link to read the reference article.



Fire Dept Lieutenant facing child porn charges

Wednesday, February 3, 2016   

A veteran lieutenant with DCFEMS is now on administrative leave after being charged with receiving and in possession of child pornography. While the details have not yet been released, the alleged crimes stem from 2011 and 2012.

While we cannot control what our staff does on their 'own time,' what we as the leadership of our department MUST do is prepare. We must prepare the 3 P's before they happen:  policies, protocols, and public responses.  While we cannot write a perfect plan that will address every situation that may arise, we can certainly take the case studies like this one and use it as a 'test' for our system.  If this happened in your department, you could ask the following:  Do you have any policies that address conduct both on and off the job? Do you have the proper protocols to place someone on paid/unpaid administrative leave until an investigation is made or do they continue to work? Do you have any idea what you would say to the news reporter that just knocked on your door to get your take on the situation?



Reputation Management Report for 2015

Firefighter Reputation Management Training Report

Thursday, January 14, 2016  Check out this great video prepared by Candice McDonald Chief Instructor for Fire Service Reputation Management Training.



Firefighter honored for off-duty efforts

Wednesday, January 6, 2016   CHARLESTON, IL

Charleston firefighter Kyle Keefer was recognized for his quick thinking and actions when an motorcycle accident happened in front of him last May.  The motorcycle struck a deer and both riders were lying on the ground as he pulled up. Keefer quickly assessed, summoned for help, and coordinated the response in the fastest manner to help the victims.  Read about this more by clicking on the link below. 



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