Fire Engineering Training Community

Where firefighters come to talk training

John K. Murphy's Blog (83)

Legal Series - Constructive Discharge

Question: My Fire Department is trying to fire me or force me into resignation with unfounded charges, frequent transfers to other Divisions and other similar harassment behavior. I am a Battalion Chief, caucasian male and 54 years old. I want to retire when I am 62 and I am not sure I will be able to do that. What can I do?

Answer: There seems to be a recent trend with fire departments forcing older firefighters…

Continue

Added by John K. Murphy on December 28, 2015 at 10:30am — No Comments

The Night before Christmas at the Fire House - Legally Speaking

 Whereas, on or about the night prior to Christmas, there did occur at a certain improved piece of real property in a wintery municipality (hereinafter "the Fire House") a general lack of stirring by all firefighter and creatures therein, including, but not limited to a mouse.

A variety of foot apparel, e.g. stocking,…

Continue

Added by John K. Murphy on December 9, 2015 at 7:33pm — No Comments

Progressive Discipline

Question – My department is disciplining me for a charge that an alleged comment on the training ground offended a probationary firefighter. The charge was that I was “too tough” on the candidate requiring him to repeat certain basic firefighter skills that he had a hard time completing. The alleged comment was related to his performance and not directed as him as a firefighter. The penalty assessed by the department was 15 days off without pay, a letter of reprimand and I…

Continue

Added by John K. Murphy on November 23, 2015 at 9:00am — No Comments

Cop with a law degree running the Fire Service

The Mayor of Detroit has appointed a former police officer with a law degree and Director of the City’s Building Department as the fire commissioner after the retirement of Commissioner Edsel Jenkins. Let me say right off the bat, I have nothing against cops or lawyers or building officials as some of my best friends possess some or all of those qualifications. 

Mayor Dugan stated in his nomination presentation that,…

Continue

Added by John K. Murphy on October 15, 2015 at 4:30pm — 2 Comments

Hair Raising Tales

Question. I am a firefighter with a ponytail. Can my employer make me trim it or cut it off?

Answer. The short answer is the employer can create a grooming standard and create an exception based on gender. There has been a lot of controversy related to the “right” to display tattoos, piercings, beards, hair length, coloring your hair a bizarre color and other personal displays of…

Continue

Added by John K. Murphy on September 29, 2015 at 9:00pm — No Comments

Death by Documentation

Many of the legal failures found in departments related to discipline, employee terminations, EMS response and documentation or other departmental events is due to the failure to document those events carefully with consideration that you may be challenged in those personnel decisions, in the provision of medical care or on a fire response.

It seems like a no brainer that on EMS or Fire events, there are templates…

Continue

Added by John K. Murphy on September 20, 2015 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Cell Phone Privacy

Question – I am a Battalion Chief in a large department and use my personal cell phone for work related issues like taking pictures of emergency scenes and emails/texting to various chief officers and elected officials. My Chief informed me that material contained in my phone is available for review under a Public Records request for information if I am using it in the performance of my duty.…

Continue

Added by John K. Murphy on September 9, 2015 at 4:24pm — No Comments

Thanks for Hiring Me

Every once in a while, I look back on the individuals I hired as firefighters during my career. As the hiring process is a relatively complicated, I believe I made the right decisions in the hiring and rejection of candidate firefighters. That I made the right decisions was reaffirmed the other day when I stopped by one of my stations to check on crew deployed to Eastern Washington fighting the wildland fires and were met by several firefighters and…

Continue

Added by John K. Murphy on August 28, 2015 at 11:00am — 2 Comments

Embezzlement – a dishonor to the fire service.

 Embezzlement is described as - theft or misappropriation of funds placed in one's trust or belonging to one's employer. A recent uptick in the theft of funds, equipment or property from the fire department is creating an embarrassment to the fire service as a…

Continue

Added by John K. Murphy on August 12, 2015 at 5:00pm — 1 Comment

Social Media use in background checks

Scenario: I am a firefighter candidate. During the oral interview, one of the panel members asked me for my user name and password for my social media sites. Can the employer as for that information and for what purpose?

Discussion: With the liberal use of social media sites by millions of users, are social media sites fair game for your employer to search your social media sites for insight into your activities to determine…

Continue

Added by John K. Murphy on July 30, 2015 at 12:00pm — No Comments

Hiring disabled veterans under the ADA

Scenario – We are actively recruiting firefighters and providing a veterans credit for returning veterans. One of the applicants was injured by an IED amputating his leg below the knee. He is wearing a prosthetic and appears to get around OK. Do we have to hire this veteran?

Discussion – It is an admirable position your department has taken by creating an opportunity for returning…

Continue

Added by John K. Murphy on July 7, 2015 at 10:30am — No Comments

Drones & Policy - New Technology for the Fire Services

The information contained in this article is evolving and a department desiring to obtain and use drones or UAV, must check for the most recent rules and regulations related to this issue.

New technology for the fire service is not without controversy from the use of new nozzles, tactics and training, protective clothing, SCBA technology, holographic images on your face shields, mobile data terminals, engine configurations, fire…

Continue

Added by John K. Murphy on June 14, 2015 at 5:30pm — No Comments

Legal Lesson - Conduct Unbecoming

What does it mean when you are standing in front of your fire chief with a pending discipline action and the chief states you are being charged with “conduct unbecoming”.

What does that mean? Well in many States, it means you are going to be disciplined for on or off duty conduct that violated the Departments published firefighter code of conduct policy or SOP.

I have written in prior articles the need for a Code of Conduct and Policies that outline the terms…

Continue

Added by John K. Murphy on June 2, 2015 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Selecting Diverse Fire Instructors

Scenario: I am seeking to create a diverse cadre of instructors in fire academies and there is little on the topic. How does a fire chief or training officer select the best individuals for this important position?

 

The question you should start asking is what constitutes a “diverse” instructor cadre and what are the important elements to seek out when creating this group of instructors. The term Diverse in…

Continue

Added by John K. Murphy on May 20, 2015 at 4:00pm — No Comments

Firefighter's Duty, Honor and Courage

 

The Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) is the premiere event for the nation’s fire services, bringing together the best of the best in fire training events and instructors. This year there was over thirty thousand firefighters from the United States and 52 countries. One of the striking and noteworthy observations was the number of families who were accompanying their firefighter parents and there were many young firefighters also in…

Continue

Added by John K. Murphy on May 11, 2015 at 10:37am — No Comments

Firefighter's Duty, Honor and Courage

 

The Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) is the premiere event for the nation’s fire services, bringing together the best of the best in fire training events and instructors. This year there was over thirty thousand firefighters from the United States and 52 countries. One of the striking and noteworthy observations was the number of families who were accompanying their firefighter parents and there were many young firefighters also in…

Continue

Added by John K. Murphy on May 11, 2015 at 10:30am — No Comments

FDIC and the Legal Forecast for 2015

The fire services attorneys (Varone, Murphy, Pinsky and Comstock) had the pleasure of presenting legal lectures at FDIC and were live on Blog Talk Radio with our usual legal banter discussing those important issues facing the fire service and some discussion related to avoiding legal jeopardy. In the 25 minutes of the presentation, the attorneys discussed the use of Drones and the…

Continue

Added by John K. Murphy on April 26, 2015 at 5:30pm — No Comments

FDIC 2015 - Attendance Mandatory

FDIC, April 20 – 25, 2015, is the week to get your firefighter on and become refreshed and rejuvenated in our profession shared with 35 thousand other like minded firefighters. FDIC is the oldest and world renowned firefighter’s conference held in Indianapolis who has opened their arms wide to welcome firefighters from all over the United States and numerous foreign countries.

For you who have been there, you know it…

Continue

Added by John K. Murphy on April 7, 2015 at 1:15pm — No Comments

Firefighter Residency Requirements

Does your department require you to live within the boundaries of your city, municipality or community in order for you to keep your job or to be eligible to be hired?

These rules are called RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS affecting public safety officers and certain critical staff to live in or close to the community where they work.

Generally, residency requirements have…

Continue

Added by John K. Murphy on March 22, 2015 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Attorneys running your fire department

There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. Imagine a fire service world where attorneys or judges are running your fire department.  It is an area which we call the…

Continue

Added by John K. Murphy on March 5, 2015 at 1:30pm — No Comments

Policy Page

CONTRIBUTORS NOTE

Our contributors' posts are not vetted by the Fire Engineering technical board, and reflect the views and opinions of the individual authors. Anyone is welcome to participate.

For vetted content, please go to www.fireengineering.com/archive/.

Fire Engineering Editor in Chief Bobby Halton
We are excited to have you participate in our discussions and interactive forums. Before you begin posting, please take a moment to read our policy page. -- Bobby Halton

Be Alert for Spam
We actively monitor the community for spam, however some does slip through. Please use common sense and caution when clicking links. If you suspect you've been hit by spam, e-mail peter.prochilo@clarionevents.com.

FE Podcasts


Check out the most recent episode and schedule of
UPCOMING PODCASTS

© 2020   Created by fireeng.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service