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Reputation management & the fire service: The report. Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen's Association describes it as "a wake-up call to the fire service".


Read Fire Service Reputation Management, White Paper, by the Cumberland Valley Firemen’s Association

We need to start this posting with some full disclosure on what some may see as a possible conflict of interest for me. I generally don’t report on stories I am involved in. I leave that to others. You need to know that I had a small role in the fact finding phase of this new report from the Cumberland Valley Firemen’s Association and you will see my name listed under group members.

At the request of Steve Austin, I spent two days in Emmitsburg last year talking with the other group members about the various stories that I cover that can be seen  as damaging to the repuation of the fire service. I am almost always willing to talk to anyone about what I do and why I do it.

I find it to be a compelling topic and an important issue for the fire service, despite my role (or maybe because of it) as the conduit for much bad news. This is something that has been discussed on many times, particularly as it relates to social media. What I had to say on the topic echoes what I have posted on the blog and my responses to readers in our comments section since I began writing in May of 2007.

Now that you know my role, rather than characterize the report any further, I going to let you be the judge of what this is all about. The link to the report is above and the press release is below:

Reckless Conduct Endangers America’s Fire Service —

Fire Service Reputation Management White Paper Examines Issue

Hagerstown MD, March 10, 2010- Reckless and inappropriate conduct by a small minority of the nation’s fire service is eroding the high moral ground occupied by firefighters says a White Paper sponsored by the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association, (CVVFA) a century-old organization dedicated to enhancing communication and continuing education among the fire service.

The contents of the White Paper represent a distillation of several fire service leadership meetings that identified a series of social, cultural, and ethical issues impacting the fire service nationwide that demand increased awareness.

The White Paper is intended as a wake-up call to the fire service. The detrimental impact from fire service members that engage in unethical, immoral, inappropriate, criminal, or other activities reflects back not just to these individuals, but to their departments and communities, and to the fire service as a whole.

Recognizing that the actions of a small minority of bad actors can have grievous widespread consequences, the fire service as a whole must be increasingly vigilant in policing itself. Through a combination of enhanced and improved internal controls, increased vigilance, and greater acceptance of personal responsibility perhaps including, but not limited to, abiding by a Code of Ethics, the fire service can ensure that it remains true to its roots and heritage of protecting and serving this great nation.

The Fire Service Reputation Management White Paper clearly identifies these individuals and behaviors in a clear and cogent manner, articulates some excellent solutions, and clamors for a Code of Ethics as the next logical step for our profession. 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 Kelvin Cochran, United States Fire Administrator.

Copies of the White Paper are available at . In the next several weeks the CVVFA will launch a website that will chronicle inappropriate conduct by members of, the fire service. The website will serve to raise awareness of danger to the reputation of the fire service and will advocate for a code of ethics and standards for proper behavior.

About the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association: Established in 1901 the CVVFA provides firefighters and other emergency responders with Training, Leadership, and Fraternalism. The Association created the Emergency Responder Safety Institute in 1999 to address dangers responders face on the roadways. Much of that work is carried out through its nationally recognized website

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