Firefighting

MILWAUKEE’S DIVERSITY PROGRAM: A MODEL

Issue 3 and Volume 155.

LACK OF TRAINING CONCERNING HARASSMENT, DISCRIMINATION, VIOLENCE, AND RESPECT IN GENERAL ARE COSTING FIRE DEPARTMENTS MONEY, TIME, AND PRODUCTIVITY. BY DOUGLAS HOLTON Many fire departments across the country are finding themselves in the peculiar position of not being prepared for the onslaught of grievances and lawsuits that their own department members are bringing against them. Many of these lawsuits aren’t about firefighting, extrication calls, or emergency medical service. They concern behavior against individuals who have different ethnic backgrounds, gender, religious beliefs, and sexual preferences. When firefighters, lieutenants, captains, battalion chiefs, assistant chiefs, and chiefs are disciplined for actions taken or actions not taken concerning discriminatory behavior in the fire station or on the fireground, they all react the same. The first words out of their mouths are, “We weren’t trained.” Ironically, most of the time their statements are true. Lack of training concerning harassment, discrimination, violence, and respect in general…

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