Do you believe there is or should be an understood code of ethics that should guides firefighters both on and off duty. Should disciplinary actions be taken in incidents where a firefighter’s behavior off duty does not fall within this code of ethics and ought to have been known to be an unacceptable behavior for a firefighter on or off duty?

If you believe that there is an understood or should be an understood code of ethics that should guide firefighter both off and on duty what would it be.

What would you do in a situation where a firefighter is charged with a criminal activity which does not directly relate to the fire service and was not committed while on duty  such as theft or assault ? Should what happens off duty be left out of the service? or should it be dealt with internally

Should Firefighters be held to a higher standard because of the position they serve?

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Well something like posting a nude picture of yourself isn't something the public would perceive as acceptable behavior. Though some ladies may enjoy it haha. Honestly, I used to think the same way, but it's the same thing as cleaning up your facebook profile.
Everyone has raised good and valid points; however consider this, the enforcement piece of any disciplinary violation is only as good as the ethics of the management group and the organization. I challenge you to consider incidents where a charge has been filed and dropped; do you believe the charging official is more credible than the member. The Fire service has a responsibility to fairly adjudicate infractions of law and procedure, not to respond to allegations which is what a charge consists of.

Consider a passive speed enforcement camera and a speeding violation charge, what if it is dropped when officials determine that the device was not calibrated. If you have started disciplinary actions without actionable grounds is the department then culpable, or the charging official? Ultimately, the Fire Service has a responsibility to respond to violations, not charges, and this is where the ethical line is drawn.
The public holds us to a higher standard just like the Police. I know around here, anytime a cop or firefighter is arrested for anything, the news media is always quick to mention their profession. Some guy who sells suits for JC Penney is just another guy getting arrested, while cops and FF's seem to be newsworthy.

I'm sure every F.D. has some form of unwritten rules, like not wearing your Dept. T-shirt if you're going out drinking, etc. I know mine does. For those that don't, it's probably not a bad idea. Let common sense be your guide. Stay safe!
We have this code of ethics and is taken very seriously. Maybe a little more radical. Since it is usually much disapproved by the people we have to be very credible in the eyes of all.
Not to throw around union viewpoints, but this is salient to the conversation... Professional firefighters when becoming part of the association agree and sign an oath that contains the following information, standards for ethical behavior...

Firefighter Code of Ethics

The International Association of Fire Fighters, in its Manual of Common Procedure and Related Subjects, contains this code which helps union firefighters uniformly remember their career mission and goals.

As a firefighter and member of the International Association of Fire Fighters, my fundamental duty is to serve humanity; to safeguard and preserve life and property against the elements of fire and disaster; and maintain a proficiency in the art and science of fire engineering.
I will uphold the standards of my profession, continually search for new and improved methods and share my knowledge and skills with my contemporaries and descendants.

I will never allow personal feelings, nor danger to self, deter me from my responsibilities as a firefighter.

I will at all times, respect the property and rights of all men and women, the laws of my community and my country, and the chosen way of life of my fellow citizens.

I recognize the badge of my office as a symbol of public faith, and I accept it as a public trust to be held so long as I am true to the ethics of the fire service. I will constantly strive to achieve the objectives and ideals, dedicating myself to my chosen profession--saving of life, fire prevention and fire suppression.

As a member of the International Association of Fire Fighters, I accept this self-imposed and self-enforced obligation as my responsibility.

Regardless whether you are a full time paid professional or a volunteer firefighter, the rules are the same. When people think of firefighter's, they think of this...

Like Ronald said in the movie "Backdraft"..."The funny thing about Firemen is day and night, they're always Firemen". People usually know who we are and where we work. When we run afoul of the law or behave poorly in public, we not only cast a bad light on our individual department, but the Fire Service as a whole. Don't know if there should be a written code of ethics, but Fire Service leaders need to lead by example.
Just out of curiousity...Is that a picture of an old Winter Haven, FL truck and Station?
I agree with everything you've said except the "Let common sense be your guide" as common sense isn't that common nowadays. But I hear what you're saying Brian.
If they are unwritten they are not rules.
Thanks Cap. well put.
We have SOP's that call for disciplinary action for "conduct unbecoming on or off duty." What is unbecoming? Actions which break the law. If you break the law, there are consequences.

Like it or not, the public trusts the Fire Service and they look to us for help. We all (if not now, hopefully we did at one time) feel a moral obligation to help people. If Jane Doe is in trouble, John Q. Public may not feel obligated to help but Firefighter Smith may, regardless of on or off duty.

What it boils down to is this: If the Department SOP's state you will face disciplinary action for conduct on or off duty, and the administration doesn't waver, then yes you can and should face action. If the SOP's don't state so specifically, then no you shouldn't face action. The consequences of breaking the law means facing the legal system.

To me, there shouldn't be a question of a higher standard or not. If everyone in society would follow the law, that issue would take care of itself. (I'm assuming lawmakers have our best interests in mind!)

Personally, if we as a society get to a point where we don't care about moral and ethical issues, then we have reached a point where there is no society.
While you are correct, you underestimate the capacity of group think and personal vendettas. We take living in this country so seriously we are willing to risk our lives for it and the people; thus, it would be a disservice to everyone who came before us to ignore the 4th Amendment to the constitution (due process)-yes even with SOP's.

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