Members of the fire and emergency services pledge to serve and protect their communities from hazards of all kinds. Yet instances of bullying, harassment, and discrimination within the emergency services ranks persist. These actions are detrimental to the fire service, putting members in danger, discouraging people from joining or staying in the service, and tarnishing the reputation of the entire fire service community.
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), International Association of Black Professional Firefighters, International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), IAFC Volunteer & Combination Officers Section, International Association of Women in the Fire & Emergency Services, National Association of Fire Training Directors, and National Association of Hispanic Firefighters have released a Joint Anti-Harassment, Bullying, and Discrimination Statement. This statement asserts that all members of fire, EMS, and rescue services should be treated and treat others with respect and dignity, and makes it clear that harassment, bullying, and discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated.
The statement issues a call to action that all fire and emergency service organizations implement an anti-harassment, bullying, and discrimination policy that is actively communicated to personnel and actively and consistently enforced. Departments should also adopt a Code of Conduct or Code of Ethics that clearly defines expected behaviors among personnel.
“Harassment, bullying, and discrimination have no place in our society and must never be tolerated in our fire and EMS stations,” said NVFC Chair Kevin D. Quinn. “As firefighters and emergency responders, we rely on each other in life-or-death situations. It is critical that we all treat our brothers and sisters in the fire service with respect and realize the value each of us has to our department and our community. I commend these fire service organizations for joining together in a show of unity against harassment, bullying, and discrimination, and I encourage all members of the fire service to stand with us.”
The Joint Anti-Harassment, Bullying, and Discrimination Statement and corresponding resources can be used by departments as a basis for their own policies. Read the statement and access resources on the NVFC web site at www.nvfc.org/anti-harassment-resources.