Legal Issues


The Policy Bank

John K. Murphy Legal Blog

Rollbacks in Firefighter Pensions

Tue Jun 12 16:32:00 CDT 2012
In past blogs, I have warned that Cities, Towns and other governmental entities have set their sights on firefighter’s pensions and other public pension retirement benefits to include among the other egregious actions of reducing the numbers of f...

Legal Fire Prevention - Social Media Policy

Wed May 16 17:34:00 CDT 2012
With the recent spate of demotions, terminations and litigation related to the use of social media to post your likes, dislikes, ranting and ravings under an assumption that your First Amendment protections apply to you, here is another thought. They d...

The Fire Service Crucible – are we prepared to withstand the heat in order to survive?

Tue May 01 14:09:00 CDT 2012
According to Wikipedia, a crucible is a container that can withstand very high temperatures and is used for metal, glass and pigment production as well as a number of modern laboratory processes. While crucibles historically were usually made from clay...

Pesky Legal Fires that Keep on Burning

Mon Mar 26 20:28:00 CDT 2012
I’m the little voice in your head (otherwise known as your conscience) that keeps reminding you that you should not do this or that because it is: wrong, illegal, immoral or fattening. I am taking this opportunity to remind you of the pesky legal...


Mon Mar 19 09:09:00 CDT 2012
For you Marines in the reading audience, you can relate to the days of boot camp and the Drill Instructor in your face yelling at you when you are on your last legs, fatigued beyond your imagination and you were about to drop:  to motivate you to ...

Legal Issue Articles

Change in Lockport (NY) Ambulance Service Eases Overtime

The city's decision to do away with the Fire Department's ambulance service and reduce the minimum personnel on each ...

Rhode Island Hospital's Program for Firefighter Checkups is Illegal

The town cannot follow through on a new program that would require all firefighters to receive an annual medical eval...

Houston Firefighter Faces Heat over Social Media Post

A Houston (TX) firefighter is facing discipline for something he posted on his personal Facebook page, according to a...

L.A. Pays Millions as Police and Firefighter Injury Claims Rise

An injury-leave program for Los Angeles police and firefighters that has cost taxpayers $328 million over the last fi...

Contract Employee Charged in Fire That Grounded Chicago Flights

The contract employee accused of starting the fire at an FAA facility outside Chicago that canceled and delayed hundr...

Austin Firefighters Union Rejects Labor Contract

The Austin Firefighters Association has rejected a labor contract with the city that was proposed after approximately...

Firefighter Sues Staten Island (NY) Resident for Injury Sustained During Call

An FDNY firefighter is suing a Staten Island (NY) homeowner for an injury he reportedly sustained during a basement f...

Women Allege Harassment and Abuse on Forest Service Firefighting Crews

Current and former female firefighters of the United States Forest Service have filed a complaint with the Department...

Suspect Arraigned in King Fire (CA)

As fire officials began to confirm the first loss of homes and structures in the King fire, the man accused of settin...

Report: Dallas Firefighter Death Due to Commanders Decisions and Communication Problems

State and local investigative reports obtained Thursday show that commanders’ decisions were largely to blame for the...

Photo Gallery

Legal matters

Legal Minute: Fire Inspections

Why do we perform fire inspections? Retired deputy fire chief and attorney John K. Murphy discusses the legal aspects of conducting fire inspections.

Legal Minute: Issues That Get Fire Departments in Trouble

Attorney and former deputy chief John K. Murphy discusses some of the legal issues that seem to plague fire departments across the United States.



More Firefighter Features

Stepping Up

Stepping Up: So Why Are We Doing This?

Taking a moment to let your firefighters know the learning objectives of a particular training session can help them focus on its purpose, Ron Hiraki writes.


Report: FDNY Rookie Firefighter Injuries Increase

A recent news report says rookie firefighters hired by the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) are being injured in unprecedented numbers after the fire department dropped its rigorous standards.

Illinois Firefighters in Flag Decal Flap Can Return to Work

Several Illinois firefighters who had been sent home from work for refusing to remove U.S. flag stickers from their helmets can return to work and keep the stickers posted, according to a news report.

West Metro (CO) Fire Rescue Announces Drastic Staffing Cuts

The fire district will be undertaking a variety of measures including apparatus closures, reallocation of personnel, civilian layoffs, and demotions in an effort to further control costs.

Fire Service Traditions & History

Not So Amusing: Amusement Park Fires

2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the deadly Haunted Castle fire at the Great Adventure amusement park in Jackson, New Jersey, which killed eight teens and injured a dozen others. The “castle” was in reality a series of interconnected truck trailers. In the latest From the Fire Engineering Vault feature, we look at this and other amusement park fires covered in the magazine. What common factors do you see in these fires?  


Tragedy of 1964 Trumbull Street Fire Still Resonates

Survivors recall toy factory fire that killed five Boston firefighters and a civilian


Change in Lockport (NY) Ambulance Service Eases Overtime

The city's decision to do away with the Fire Department's ambulance service and reduce the minimum personnel on each fire shift from nine to six coincided with an immediate end to high overtime costs.

Officer Development

The SPRECTRUM Model of Organizational Change, Part Two

As a fire service leader, one of the most important studies you can undertake is the exploration of organizational change, writes Mark Wallace.

Fireground Management

What Would You Do? Residence, Office, or...?

Check out a new fire simulation from Skip Coleman. This scenario takes place in a residence that is being occupied as an office.

Volunteers Corner

NVFC Adopts Position on Freelancing and Self-Dispatching

The National Volunteer Fire Council's (NVFC) Health, Safety, and Training Committee, working with the Department of Justice, developed the following position regarding self-dispatching and freelancing.


IFSI Receives Grant to Study Firefighter Safety

The University of Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) has learned that it will receive an FY2013 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Fire Prevention & Safety grant.

Top News

Tragedy of 1964 Trumbull Street Fire Still Resonates

October 1, 2014

Survivors recall toy factory fire that killed five Boston firefighters and a civilian

Fire Engineering

September 2014
Volume 167, Issue 9

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