what is your thoughts on the growing problem in fire houses, or do believe it is not as big as it seems? "Extamaritial affairs." As a chief officer I have seen a problem developing in our fire house, as we move to equality in the fire service. has our societies drop in morals moved to the place we held moral values and high standards as part of our honor. just like to see what you all have to say.

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Frank,

You have to be real careful on this when you start talking about making or enforcing policies regarding anything which happens off-duty and off department property. This is probably an area where you will want to consult your department's, or city attorney regarding the legality of any SOPs you want to address off-duty relationships, you don't want to expose your department to any legal liability by instituting a SOP which addresses this topic.

My thought is that the traditional norms, traditions and expectations of the Fire Service are no match for the changing norms of American culture. Whether we like it or not, the upcoming generation (is it still called the "Y Generation," or is the "Why? Generation?") has been exposed to, and lives to a different set of values than previous Generations. This is true of GEN X and Baby Boomers as well, but the changes have accelerated over the past 15-20 years with greater laxity in almost every facet of American Life. There are not a few TV shows and movies which not only depict extra- and pre-marital sex, but sing their praises. Music videos, internet, print media, you name it and the message is there.

And the attitude extends beyond their love lives. There are threads on here about the epidemic of cheating on exams, performance evaluations, etc.. That problem has the same roots as the bed-hopping we're talking about here. It's completely normal now for young people download "Cheat Codes" for games, so they think it's okay to get the "cheat codes" for an exam.

Also, there is a great degree of laxity in achieving milestones and setting goals. I see it all the time in my kids and their generation. A third of my son's graduating class form High School could not attend the Commencement because they had to make-up classes they failed, and the prevailing attitude among those young adults was, "It's just a piece paper," "I'll get it when I get it," and "so what?" Many of 20-somethings and the 18-19 year-olds we have coming into the work force nowadays have the same opinion about marriage ("it's just a piece of paper," "It's an out-dated institution" etc..) and it applies both ways: they don't care about the "old rules" about cheating because their generation doesn't subscribe to that point of view, and they don't want to get married because they are perfectly content to be partners and don't see any benefit in being married.

Of course a lot of this change in attitudes was taught to them by their parents. Every Baby Boomer or Gen X parent who has gotten divorced has taught their children that it is OK to walk-away from a solemn vow before God because they're not completely happy, or they don't feel like putting in the hard work that marriage (or any relationship for that matter) requires (is it any wonder that people think nothing of walking-away from a mortgage when things get a little tight?).

Back to the original point, you can't legislate or regulate morality, but you can regulate behavior on-duty and on Fire Department Property, so tread carefully and find other ways to change the behavior you want to change.

BTW, I see no problem with married couples within the same Fire Department. I am a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army and the number of Dual-Service Couples has grown exponentially over the last ten years; my wife and I included. If anything, a married couple working together are less likely to be cheating on each other!

Greenman

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