MSE 5201, Advanced Fire Administration 1
Course Learning Outcomes for Unit VII Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:
2. Assess the legal mandates required while working in the fire and emergency management fields. 2.1 Summarize the importance of ethics and the role it plays on emergency services and
emergency management. 2.2 Determine the need for standardized fire prevention and safety codes. 2.3 Outline the importance of compliance to NFPA 1500.
5. Design incident documentation.
5.1 Determine effective actions that will be taken during Phase 5 of the IAP.
6. Evaluate the media and political considerations that are required within the fire service and emergency management. 6.1 Explain the differences among narrative information, advisories and warnings, and action
messages. 6.2 Determine the roles of a public information officer and a joint information system during an
Course/Unit Learning Outcomes
2.1 Unit VII Lesson Chapter 11 Reading (Fire and Emergency Services textbook) Unit VII Project
2.2 Unit VII Lesson Chapter 10 Reading (Fire and Emergency Services textbook) Unit VII Project
2.3 Unit VII Lesson Chapter 10 Reading (Fire and Emergency Services textbook) Unit VII Project
5.1 Unit VII Lesson IAP Guide Reading Unit VII Project
6.1 Unit VII Lesson Chapter 10 Reading (NIMS textbook) Unit VII Project
6.2 Unit VII Lesson Chapter 10 Reading (NIMS textbook) Unit VII Project
Reading Assignment Fire and Emergency Services Administration: Management and Leadership Practices Chapter 10: Government Regulation, Laws, and the Courts Chapter 11: Ethics
UNIT VII STUDY GUIDE
Public View and Ethics and the Impact to Leadership
MSE 5201, Advanced Fire Administration 2
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National Incident Management System: Principles and Practice Chapter 10: Public Information FEMA Incident Action Planning (IAP) Guide Phase 5: Execute, Evaluate, and Revise the Plan, pp. 40-42 Appendix A: How to Develop Incident Objectives, pp.43-46
Unit Lesson Public Information In this unit, you will examine the need for public information officers (PIOs) in any emergency incident as well as appraise PIOs as a key component of the incident command system (ICS) command staff. They analyze the functions of the PIO in relation to other jurisdictions and the private sector. In addition, the chapter evaluates the role that public announcements have in the response and recovery of incidents. The process of communicating accurate and timely information regarding an incident is the responsibility of a public information officer who informs the public, media, and elected officials. The information transmitted gives an overview of the incident and is normally comprised of what caused the incident, the public concerns or alerts, and what is being done to mitigate the emergency. The information provided should be a narrative that paints a picture, keeping the public informed. The PIO should provide advisories and warnings that the public should follow, using common language. Operational briefings of an emergency incident provide key information needed by the PIOs for their reports. The incident action plan also provides assignments and information about the effectiveness of the operational period. However, before any of this information is released, the incident commander needs to approve the communications. Ethics The ability to make ethical decisions is affected by different moral factors. Those factors are based on the individual’s own set of core values and morals. Some of the factors are personal values, influences from family and peers, and life experiences. Part of the moral factor is knowing right from wrong. However, sometimes other factors make distinguishing the differences difficult. In the 1993 movie, Groundhog Day, differentiating some of the moral factors may have been difficult; whereas, other factors were completely wrong. In the movie, a self-centered, egotistical TV meteorologist named Phil Connors is assigned to cover an annual event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where a groundhog will determine whether winter will continue for 6 more weeks or there will be an early spring by sniffing the air and looking for his shadow. Phil Connors has a poor attitude towards the people of Punxsutawney and even states that he hates this place, having covered the same story in the past. After covering the groundhog event, the news crew was returning to the news station when an approaching blizzard caused the crew to return to Punxsutawney. A strange cycle began to develop for Phil, where each day started repeating itself, beginning as the clock radio changed from 5:59 AM to 6:00 AM. Phil finds everything is remaining the same as the day before, and this cycle continues day after day, displaying his self-centered, egotistical attitude. As time goes on, Phil starts to re-examine his outlook on life and priorities for making a change (Ramis, 1993). In the beginning of the movie, Phil’s behavior in situations that had a moral component surrounding the event was unethical as he lied about those events, mowing down parking meters, interrupting people by answering their questions even before being asked, and so forth. In each case, he used his knowledge for personal gain. Many of these unethical behaviors were the result of knowing that he could do anything or say anything because no one would recall what happened as he manipulated people. Is using one’s knowledge to manipulate others ethical? Is lying to others ethical when they will not remember? Was this truly a situation of right versus wrong? Should Phil have been altruistic, show respect, and been honest and fair to those around him since they could not remember the next day?
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Ethical behavior in leadership is guided by a system of moral principles; however, sometimes during complex situations and changing policies, moral principles can become complicated when making decisions. There is always right versus wrong, and that is easy to determine in many cases where illegal actions are concerned. Then, there is right versus the right thing to do, which becomes complicated many times. Nonetheless, in emergency services and emergency management, the relationship between ethics and leadership has to do with what leaders do and who leaders are. Moreover, how the leader responds during challenging times and the choices he or she makes determine if he or she is an ethical leader. Do the actions of leaders have consequences? Do self-interest or altruism drive ethical leaders? Is the uppermost good for the greatest number achieved? Your textbook suggests that every decision has the potential for ethical consequences. As administrators or leaders, if we focus on our own conduct and if our conduct produces a desirable consequence of what is right, then in most every instance our actions will be ethical. How do you determine if the leaders’ actions involve good or bad consequences? Your textbook supposes that unethical behavior often involves lying and the consequences that evolve from lying. Administrators make many decisions daily and sometimes may make the wrong decision. However, good administrators learn from their mistakes by first admitting that they made a mistake and by being sure to correct that error in the future (Smeby, 2014). Sometimes, however, administrators or leaders in emergency services and emergency management try to do the greatest good for the greatest number of employees. Is that right? Is determining who will be hurt the least correct, even if that group may be in the wrong and even if it is the greatest number? Administrators or leaders need to act in the interest of others, even if it is in opposition to the leaders’ own self-interest or maybe the greatest number. Do the right thing. Points to Ponder Paramedics undergo intense training in order to provide the highest possible level of care. In addition, governmental regulations mandate that paramedics maintain continuing educational hours to remain certified. During a fictitious state visit to verify that training hours were being met, the state found that several paramedics did not meet the thirty-two hours of required training. Administrators began mandating monthly training. Over time, the continued educational training became very competitive between individual paramedics, shifts, and divisions. Line officers became involved, touting that their paramedics were better than the other shifts by scoring 100% on the continuing educational proficiency test. At the paramedic level, it was rumored that paramedics began to engage in questionable or unacceptable practices to ensure that they scored 100%. As time went on, the competition at the line officer level reached the divisional level. As a result of the rumors about training, chief officers starting maintaining tighter control over the proficiency test. However, one of the chief officers in training wanted his old shift to do well on the test, and he emailed the answers to the line officers. In the scenario, what is the responsibility of the line officer? Is it to train personnel? Is it to obtain the highest test scores? Are paramedics, line officers, and others becoming paralyzed by fear in maintaining the required continuing educational hours? The ethical belief for the majority of the paramedics is oriented towards honesty, fairness, respect for one another, and respect for the organization. However, does this mean that everyone will be ethically fit? The intense competition may have tempted those that did not have solid values to find solutions that may not have been in the best interest of the organization. Is the manipulation of test scores by giving the answers to test questions intentionally committing a wrongdoing? If it is, then is this careless attitude causing harm to the organization? Is it minimizing the overall values of the personnel in general? Is it condoning cheating? Is it the fear of state statutes and regulations to mandate compliance that drove them to engage in cheating? Smeby (2014) suggests that administrators of emergency services make many decisions every day, and every decision has the potential to be either ethical or unethical. Administrators may also be faced with an ethical dilemma and will have to choose the right action to take that may at times involve governmental regulations and laws. Administrators need to be able to foresee the consequences of their decision and how the decision will affect others. Administrators in emergency services and emergency management need to be attentive to ethics and what role ethics plays on the organization and personnel.
References Ramis, H. (Director). (1993). Groundhog day [Motion picture]. United States: Columbia Pictures.
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Smeby, L. C. (2014). Fire and emergency services administration: Management and leadership practices (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett.