Politics & Law Magazine Articles

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  • So You Want To Fly a Drone: Drones and the Law

    The development of low-cost, high-quality drones together with lightweight, high-quality digital cameras offers emergency responders and fire buffs a tremendous opportunity to gain previously impossible perspectives of emergency incidents. A number of...

    Article • July 1st, 2014

  • Proving the Value Of a Fire Department

    In May 2013, I wrote a column about a survey taken to identify what some metropolitan fire chiefs from across the country believed to be the most critical issues facing their local fire departments and the national fire service over the next couple of...

    Article • July 1st, 2014

  • Labor Laws May Limit Social Media Policies

    Rarely do fire departments need to look to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for guidance. However, when it comes to developing social media policies, they would be well advised to do so. Many common departmental policies regarding social media...

    Article • June 1st, 2014

  • Tampa 2: Updating The Path Forward

    One of the realities of politics is that it’s present in everything we do that really matters in the fire service. Sometimes, the politics is internal within the fire service, sometimes it’s external and sometimes it’s both. To address the full...

    Article • May 1st, 2014

  • Fire Law: Firehouse Bullying: How to Recognize Trouble

    No one would ever confuse a professional football locker room with a firehouse. However, last fall’s widely publicized episode involving allegations of bullying in the Miami Dolphins locker room left me concerned because there are similarities between...

    Article • April 1st, 2014

  • As Firehouse Sees It: The Truth, the Whole Truth And Walking on Eggshells

    R ecently, I received an email from a reader who asked why we haven’t covered a fire that killed multiple firefighters. Typically, we request permission to cover major incidents such as fires, natural disasters and multiple firefighter fatalities. But...

    Article • April 1st, 2014

  • Fire Law sidebar: Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire Revisited

    Students of fire history know that the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire occurred on May 28, 1977, in Southgate, KY, and claimed the lives of 167 people, making it the third-most-deadly nightclub fire in U.S. history. Students of fire science know that...

    Article • April 1st, 2014

  • Fire Politics: Political Support Is Essential To the Fire Service

    T he support of elected officials at all levels of government is essential to the health and well-being of the fire service. This has been written about and discussed frequently over time, but it has never been more clear than today. I usually dedicate...

    Article • March 1st, 2014

  • Fire Politics: Putting Public Safety In Private Hands

    Make no mistake about it – the decision to privatize all or part of any public safety emergency response system is a political decision driven by several factors, the least of which sometimes is the safety of the public. That seems like a brash...

    Article • February 1st, 2014

  • Fire Law: Emails, Smartphones And Overtime

    Every once in a while, someone will ask me a question that prompts a “that is crazy” reaction and I dismiss it as absurd. It may be a few minutes, hours or days later, but eventually I think about the question again. I may even research it a bit. Then...

    Article • February 1st, 2014

  • Fire Politics: Advocating on Behalf Of Fire Service-Based EMS

    Many fire service leaders from management and labor strongly advocate the importance of effectively representing fire service-based EMS systems in the political arena. This includes focusing those efforts at the national, state and local levels of...

    Article • January 1st, 2014

  • Fire Law: When Is Arson Not Arson?

    In April 2013, District of Columbia Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe testified before the DC Council in April that department investigators had resolved 72.7% of the city’s arson cases. His number was a large increase from previous years, and far higher...

    Article • January 1st, 2014

  • Fire Politics Sidebar: Managing Your Department's Reputation

    T he International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) paper Taking Responsibility for a Positive Perception (http://www.iafc.org/files/1DEPTadmin/TakingResponsiblity4PositivePublicPerception.pdf), issued earlier this year, highlights the marketing...

    Article • December 1st, 2013

  • Fire Politics: Communicating Your Value Can Define the Future

    Writing about national politics tends to be depressing these days. Instead of focusing on all of the Washington, DC, craziness in this column, I want to write instead about something that might be even more sinister. I’m referring to the recent surge of...

    Article • December 1st, 2013

  • Overcoming Adversity: A Fire Service Tradition

    It has been difficult recently to focus on anything on the national political stage other than what is going on in Washington, DC, regarding the budget and related fiscal and policy issues. Many who support members of Congress on both sides of the aisle...

    Article • November 1st, 2013

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