Use of Fire/EMS Property and Personnel for Private Interest

EMS and the Law

 

 
 
 

W. Ann Maggiore | | Thursday, August 23, 2007


One crew of San Diego firefighters/EMTs has now filed EEOC complaints and intend to file suit against the city for sending them to participate in the city s gay pride parade while on duty. The crew alleges they were forced to participate in the parade, which exposed them to sexual harassment.

A key issue that has been lost in the folds of the sexual harassment issue is whether fire department or EMS equipment should be used in any way to support private interest groups. The equipment belongs to the government; the firefighters are on duty for the benefit of the citizens of San Diego. The department has priorities none of which include supporting special interest groups. A department s mission should not include supporting private interests, such as a gay pride parade. Similarly, it should not include participation in an NRA rally. Clearly, the department cannot and should not provide a staffed piece of apparatus to each and every special interest that requests one for its own private purpose.

In talking with a friend of mine, who s a chief fire officer in a town of 80,000 that has attracted a number of movie stars to take up residence, he told me that last winter, the area experienced heavy snowfall and a number of celebrities called in to government agencies to ensure their own roads would be cleared first. They weren t. There were no changes in priorities to accommodate special interests.

Just as we should not treat a member of the mayor s family any differently than an intoxicated homeless person, we should not play favorites with special interest groups. We should remember our true missions and who we are supposed to serve.

If the chief or battalion chief felt it was important to participate in this community event, which apparently the San Diego Fire Department had done without incident for many years, the resulting fallout could have been avoided simply by asking for volunteers who wanted to be a part of this particular event. However, if I were a San Diego taxpayer, I would be left thinking that it was an inappropriate use of public funds and that it opened the door for unrest within the department, as well as for needless litigation that will ultimately cost the taxpayer even more hard-earned dollars.




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Leadership and Professionalism, Industry News, Legal and Ethical

 
What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Simulation-Based Assessment Facilitates Learning & Enhances Clinical Judgment

Simulation is an educational tool that can be used to develop and refine clinical skills of the student in a controlled environment before they progress to becoming practicing clinicians.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

REMSA Programs Helps Reduce Hospital Visits

Community paramedic effort goes into service.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

City Official Challenges San Francisco Fire Chief

Ambulance response times among problems noted by city supervisor.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Texas Ambulance Crash

Victoria ambulance collides with civilian vehicle.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Colorado Medics Ditch Pants for Kilts

“Real men do wear kilts.”
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

CO Leak at Illinois School

Girard incident sends over 130 to hospitals.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Hands On September 2014

Who gets thumbs up this month?
More >


Multimedia Thumb

NYC Sept. 11 Anniversary

View images from the ceremony at Ground Zero.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


More Product Videos >