An important skill set that the modern fire service leader needs involves understanding the law and legal issues that impact our profession. Fire Law Group offers a range of training programs that connect the fire service and the law.
The programs are delivered live-in person, live-online, and custom recorded. For an up-to-date list of open enrollment classes CLICK HERE.
Here are descriptions of our programs:
Managing Disciplinary Challenges in the Fire Service – This 18-hour program is intended for chiefs and fire officers who may have to investigate misconduct by firefighters, as well as union representatives who may need to advise members during an internal investigation. The program looks at the causes for disciplinary problems and explains proven methods for conducting a fair and impartial investigation. Attendees will learn how to organize and conduct an investigation, interview witnesses and preserve evidence, and find the truth while respecting the honorable service that firefighters provide. The course will also look at strategic steps that fire service leaders need to consider when addressing disciplinary issues. Due process, Weingarten, Garrity and firefighter bill of rights laws are thoroughly covered. The program uses numerous case studies pulled from today’s headlines. Leading Fire Departments in the Digital Age – A 2 day class focused on the cutting edge technology-driven problems that fire departments face – from social media and digital imagery to emails and computer privacy issues. The program also addresses legal issues associated with electronic surveillance in the workplace, the ability of emergency responders to restrict photo taking by citizens at incident scenes, and the application of public records laws to emails and digital information. Fire Department Leadership: The Law and Legal Issues – This 2 day fire service leadership program explores the challenges that come from law suits and the threat of litigation. The focus is on how remain committed to visionary leadership without having your leadership agenda hijacked by liability concerns. The course includes a table-top exercise designed to evaluate a department’s preparedness for litigation.
Drafting & Implementing Effective Fire Department Policies & Procedures - Policies and procedures have become increasingly important to fire departments in our complex, litigious society. Beyond simply reducing liability, effective policies improve operations and enhance the safety and health of firefighters. They are the cornerstone of organizational learning, and have proven to be the best method for incorporating lessons learned into a fire department’s daily operations. Yet the lack of policies is repeatedly cited in NIOSH firefighter fatality reports as a contributing factor in firefighter fatalities. In addition the lack of policies figures prominently in many lawsuits holding fire department liable. This program provides attendees with everything they need to know about researching, drafting and implementing sound and effective fire department policies and procedures.
Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for Fire Departments - A comprehensive overview of wage and hour issues in the fire and emergency services. This twenty-four hour program addresses the most important topics governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act, including overtime requirements, maximum hours, determining regular rate, comp time, substitutions, record keeping and much, much more. No other law impacts fire department operations nor costs local governments more than the FLSA. Since 1985 when the US Supreme Court decided Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority, ruling that the FLSA was fully applicable to state and local governments, fire department cases have played a leading role in shaping the wage and hour landscape.
Leadership Case Studies: Respect in the Workplace - Being a leader has never been easy, but for a variety of reasons it has never been more difficult than it is today. Leaders in all walks of life are confronted with legal, ethical and moral challenges. Fire officers in particular face challenges that arise from the uniqueness of our culture. This program examines a series of case studies merging traditional concepts of leadership, coaching, ethics, liability and responsibility. How does an officer deal with a difficult subordinate, or potentially offensive behavior in the workplace? How does an officer document deficiencies in an employee’s performance without creating a hostile environment? Our officers are well trained in dealing with operational problems that pose liability problems, but are they prepared for the administrative challenges that go with their rank? This program will immerse officers in real-life case studies pulled from today’s headlines. Options for handling difficult leadership challenges will be discussed and debated. Implicit bias, sexual harassment and discrimination will be addressed. Half-day program available on a contract basis (no open enrollment).
Fire Service Report Writing – This program provides an overview of fire service report writing. It combines an understanding of the legal concern associated with report writing coupled with the practical considerations faced by fire officers who must prepare incident and administrative reports. Fire reports, EMS reports, refusals against medical advice, apparatus accident reports, personnel reviews, counseling/discipline forms, and witness statements are all addressed. The distinction between facts and conclusions will be emphasized throughout the program, as will common report mistakes that can result in unnecessary liability for the department and the report drafter.
Digital Imagery and Social Media Challenges in the Fire Service – Digital imagery and social media have been both a blessing and a curse for the fire service, but one thing is undeniable: despite the problems digital imagery and social media are here to stay. The law that applies to social media has been evolving and continues to evolve, with new cases and considerations arising daily. This program addresses the latest digital imagery and social media cases effecting the fire service, and the lessons learned for fire departments and firefighters. Recommendations for policies including specific language to address all legal requirements is provided. A one-day program is available that addresses both digital imagery and social media. A half-day versions are available that address either digital imagery or social media. Stay current on these evolving problems and learn what new concerns your policies need to address.
Firefighter Misconduct: The Company Officer’s Role & Responsibility – This program combines discipline, leadership, and ethics training with a series of case studies into the leadership challenges commonly face by fire officers. This fast-paced class examines the role that firehouse culture plays in misconduct and offers concrete solutions to officers to avoid derailing their own careers and while protecting their subordinates. This half-day program that can be coupled with other half day programs (Leadership Case Studies, social media, or report writing) to make a full day of training.
Customized training on the following leadership and law related topics:
Going Viral: Digital imagery and social media challenges in the fire service
Facebook and the First Amendment
Firefighter Misconduct: the company officer’s role and responsibility
Fire Officer’s Legal Primer
Leadership case studies
Emails, Electronic Communications and Workplace Privacy
Hazing, pranks and bullying
Firefighter occupational safety and health
Report writing and documentation
Legal update – Arson
Legal update – Fourth Amendment
Legal update – Fire Scene Spoliation
Firefighters and the right to remain silent
Liability trends and traps
Leadership & liability
Public Records Law in the Digital Age
Advanced Disciplinary Issues
Family Medical Leave Act, Sick Leave Abuse, and the Fire Service
Drafting and Implementing an Effective Social Media Policy - Social media has been both a blessing and a curse for the fire service, but one thing is undeniable: social media with all its problems is here to stay. The law that applies to social media has been evolving and continues to evolve, with new cases arising daily. Emerging are some important principles that fire service leaders and firefighters can use to avoid the pitfalls that can lead to firefighters being terminated or social media policies being struck down. This program will focus on the latest social media cases affecting the fire service, and the important lessons learned for fire departments and firefighters. These lessons will then be connected to recommended policy language for your social media policy. Stay current on this evolving problem and learn what new concerns your policies need to address. Social media challenges can be managed through sound, defensible social media polices.
For an up-to-date list of open enrollment classesCLICK HERE.
If you are interested in hosting a class in your area, or scheduling an in-house program live-in person or live-online, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.