Ethics Discussion Held at CVVFA Convention

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – Four years ago, the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association (CVVFA) tackled a tough issue – one that many would prefer not to talk about – ethics.

On any given day across the country, the headlines announce the arrests of firefighters for any number of issues.

In the 2010 White Paper, the authors noted: ­"The nation's fire service has long been held in justifiably high esteem. This reputation has been hard earned. The fire service is that 'rock of stability to which the public knows to turn during the upheaval of a crisis -- be that crisis a dwelling fire, rescue, natural disaster, or medical emergency."

They later came up with a code of ethics that suggest every person in the fire and emergency services sign. Plaques bearing those rules hang in every building at the National Fire Academy.

The CVVFA effort continued during their annual convention this week with a focus on reputation management.

N.J. Paramedic Anthony Correia said it’s imperative that close scrutiny be paid to every single person who signs an application.

“Is the person ethical? Is the person trustworthy and reliable? If there’s doubt, this person shouldn’t be allowed in.”

Are the recruiters really telling it like it is? Are they painting a correct picture of what you do?

With the numbers of fires down, potential members should be informed about public education events and fund-raising activities. “Do you tell them about the hoagie sales they’ll be expected to help with?”

It’s also imperative that the applicant’s family understand the commitment involved.

And, no one should be allowed to join without a background check.

In an effort to keep the books intact, he said multiple signatures should be required on checks. While all departments have mutual aid agreements, the majority don’t have it available for administrators.