Diversity

Continuing Leadership Problems in a Fire Department

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer This is the title of a recent post from my fire service colleague and attorney, Curt Varone, on his blog, Fire Law: Fairfax County’s Highest Female Officer Resigns From Women’s Program Officer Position WOW! There’s no other word that even comes close to describing my thoughts after reading Chief Stanley’s letter of resignation. After ...

Read More »

Barriers to Inclusion: A Case Study

By Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer Bringing more women into your fire department is not going to add value or capabilities to your organization unless your department’s leadership recognizes and addresses its barriers to inclusion. In a recent piece for FireRescue1’s on-line trade journal, 7 steps to an inclusive fire department culture, I wrote: Diversity is about counting people. Inclusion ...

Read More »

Diversity and Inclusion: What’s Your Fire Department’s Plan?

Diversity is about counting people. Inclusion is about making people count. Diversity is about the ingredients, the mix of people and perspectives. Inclusion is about the container – the place that allows employees to feel they belong, to feel both accepted and different. To achieve success today and tomorrow in meeting the challenges it faces, a fire department needs a group of people who think differently – in a place that's safe to share those differences.

Read More »

Clan Behavior and it’s Influence on Fire Service Culture

I submit for your consideration that fire department leaders will not find the “fix” until they recognize that those new members (outsiders) are being exposed to the behaviors and expectations of the firehouse clan from Day #1 with a department. Who’s teaching them in those entry-level training programs? Who’s working with them at the firehouse when they come on board?

Read More »

Organizational Climate: Another “Weather” Report

Much is being written and discussed about the fire service and its culture of risk-taking and the influence of that culture on firefighter deaths and injuries. But there is also the culture of the firehouse, and that’s the culture that’s influencing the inappropriate behaviors, on and off the job, that are resulting in careers being ruined, lawsuits being filed, and in the worst cases, firefighters taking their own lives.

Read More »

The Coming “Tsunami”: Sexual Harassment Litigation

In just the past few days another woman firefighter filed a lawsuit against the Fairfax County (Va.) Fire and Rescue Department claiming not only that was she sexually harassed and stalked by her captain, but she was retaliated against when she reported his behavior. That’s right, the same department that Nicole Mittendorff worked for before she took her own life.

Read More »