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. The committee brought the position to the full board at their 2014 fall meeting, and it was unanimously adopted. The safety of our firefighters is paramount and the NVFC urges you and your department to adopt the position.
NVFC Positon on Freelancing and Self-Dispatching
The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) supports the leadership role of incident commanders in regard to incident management during emergencies. The NVFC opposes freelancing or self-dispatching, as it can lead to miscommunication, causing safety and health issues for firefighters, first responders, and citizens. Firefighters must have the legal authority and responsibility to engage in the suppression of fire at a scene and acting in the line of duty for eligibility purposes under the PSOB Program. The NVFC strongly encourages fire department leadership to take an active role in communicating this position to every firefighter and first responder.
- NVFC to partner with NAFTD, USFA, and other training entities to emphasize the freelance and self-dispatch position.
- NVFC to promote and provide sample mutual aid agreements.
Freelancing is being authorized to respond to a scene but responding outside the scope of incident command and/or failing to check-in with the command structure. This applies to both individuals and departments.
Self-dispatching is responding to a scene without prior authorization. This applies to both individuals and departments.