Firefighting

Censorship

Issue 6 and Volume 162.

I have recently become aware of several instances where a line-of-duty death occurred and firefighters were ordered not to give any reports or make any statements to the media concerning the incident. Of the 27 responses to this month’s question, 18 (66 percent) said that a department should have the right to censor or restrict the comments of firefighters. Six (22 percent) said departments should not be allowed to restrict or censor a firefighter’s statements. Two (7 percent) said that firefighters should be allowed to speak but only under certain circumstances. I really couldn’t tell what one respondent felt. Going in, I thought that the responses would follow the lines of position in the department. I believed that all or most chief officers would favor some form of censorship. Conversely, I thought that most firefighters and company officers would not believe that censorship was called for. However, I was surprised…

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