Below are resources to help your department prevent and mitigate situations involving reputation management.
CVVFA's White Paper on Fire Service Reputation Management
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, communities, and the fire service as a whole. This white paper by the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen's Association (CVVFA) identifies these individuals and behaviors, articulates solutions, and calls for a Code of Ethics as the next logical step for the fire service.
Originally proposed in the CVVFA's reputation management white paper, the National Firefighter Code of Ethics calls on individual firefighters to pledge their support for maintaining the highest level of professionalism and behavior. The Code is a guide for acceptable behavior already practiced by all but a very small percentage of the fire service. Isolated events involving lapses in ethical judgment by fire service personnel led to the Code's development. The Code is the brainchild of the National Society of Executive Fire and has since gained the support of a number of local, state, and national organizations. For more information on firefighter ethics, visit the CVVFA's Firefighter Behavior web site.
Taking Responsibility for a Positive Public Perception
Developed by the International Association of Fire Chief’s Fire and Emergency Service Image Task Force, this document offers a discussion of the issues surrounding public perceptions of the fire and emergency service industry, and provides tools and resources to support local action to promote a positive public image. Local model practices and SOPs are included.
Media reports suggest there are over 100 arrests in firefighter arson cases each year. The NVFC has released several resources to help departments prevent cases of firefighter arson and mitigate the aftermath if an incident does occur.
Social media can be a great way for departments to connect with their communities and relay important messages. However, social media can also be a liability if used improperly. Find resources and tools for implementing social media in your department's communication and outreach initiatives, including sample social media policies.
Background checks are an important part of a department's recruitment process and can help departments protect themselves from reputation management and liability issues. The NVFC has partnered with JD Palatine to offer NVFC members the First Responder Search & Review background screening service at a special discounted price. Find more information on the service and pricing on the Member Benefits page of the NVFC Members-Only web site.
Fire Corps, a program administered by the NVFC that connects volunteers with their local departments to perform non-operational functions, developed a Liability Guide and Liability Presentation to help departments a Fire Corps programs address liability issues. These resources are available for free to registered Fire Corps programs. If you are not currently registered, you can do so for free at www.firecorps.org. Also included on this page is a link to the Nonprofit Risk Management Center's State Liability Laws for Charitable Organizations and Volunteers.
Junior firefighter programs are an excellent recruitment tool for departments and a significant educational opportunity for youth. However, departments are continually faced with keeping junior firefighters safe and following all state, national, and local laws, while allowing them training opportunities to prepare them to be future firefighters. This webinar from the NVFC's National Junior Firefighter Program reviews the five steps for managing the unknown and reducing liability whle providing youth with a safe, fun, and educational experience. Access the training in the NVFC Virtual Classroom.