An important skill set that the modern fire service leader needs involves understanding the law and legal issues that impact our profession. I offer a range of training programs that connect the fire service and the law.

The programs include:

Managing Disciplinary Challenges in the Fire Service – This 2-day program is intended for chiefs and fire officers who may have to investigate misconduct by firefighters, as well as union representatives who may need to advise members during an internal investigation. The program looks at the causes for disciplinary problems and explains proven methods for conducting a fair and impartial investigation. Attendees will learn how to organize and conduct an investigation, interview witnesses and preserve evidence, and find the truth while respecting the honorable service that firefighters provide. The course will also look at strategic steps that fire service leaders need to consider when addressing disciplinary issues. Due process, Weingarten, Garrity and firefighter bill of rights laws are thoroughly covered. The program uses numerous case studies pulled from today’s headlines.

Leading Fire Departments in the Digital Age
 – A 2 day class focused on the cutting edge technology-driven problems that fire departments face – from social media and digital imagery to emails and computer privacy issues. The program also addresses legal issues associated with electronic surveillance in the workplace, the ability of emergency responders to restrict photo taking by citizens at incident scenes, and the application of public records laws to emails and digital information.

Digital Imagery and Social Media Challenges in the Fire Service
– One day program. Digital imagery and social media have been both a blessing and a curse for the fire service, but one thing is undeniable: despite the problems digital imagery and social media are here to stay. The law that applies to social media has been evolving and continues to evolve, with new cases and considerations arising daily. This program addresses the latest digital imagery and social media cases effecting the fire service, and the lessons learned for fire departments and firefighters. Recommendations for policies including specific language to address all legal requirements is provided. A half-day version is also available as well. Stay current on this evolving problem and learn what new concerns your policies need to address.

Fire Department Leadership: The Law and Legal Issues 
– This 2 day fire service leadership program explores the challenges that come from law suits and the threat of litigation. The focus is on how remain committed to visionary leadership without having your leadership agenda hijacked by liability concerns. The course includes a table-top exercise designed to evaluate a department’s preparedness for litigation.

Firefighter Misconduct:  The Company Officer’s Role & Responsibility –
One day program that combines discipline, leadership, and ethics training with an overview of the  challenges posed by digital imagery and social media. This fast-paced class examines the role that firehouse culture plays in misconduct and offers concrete solutions to officers to avoid derailing their careers while protecting their subordinates.

  • Leadership and ethical decision-making
  • Discipline in the Fire Service
  • Digital Imagery & Photo Taking
  • Social Media in the Fire Service

Drafting & Implementing Effective Fire Department Policies & Procedures

Policies and procedures have become increasingly important to fire departments in our complex, litigious society. Beyond simply reducing liability, effective policies improve operations and enhance the safety and health of firefighters. They are the cornerstone of organizational learning, and have proven to be the best method for incorporating lessons learned into a fire department’s daily operations. Yet the lack of policies is repeatedly cited in NIOSH firefighter fatality reports as a contributing factor in firefighter fatalities. In addition the lack of policies figures prominently in many lawsuits holding fire department liable. This program provides attendees with everything they need to know about researching, drafting and implementing sound and effective fire department policies and procedures.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for Fire Departments
A comprehensive overview of wage and hour issues in the fire and emergency services. This three day program addresses the most important topics governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act, including overtime requirements, maximum hours, determining regular rate, comp time, substitutions, record keeping and much, much more.
No other law impacts fire department operations nor costs local governments more than the FLSA. Since 1985 when the US Supreme Court decided
Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority ruling that the FLSA was fully applicable to state and local governments, fire department cases have played a leading role in shaping the wage and hour landscape.

I also offer customized training on the following leadership and law related topics:
  • Going Viral: Digital imagery and social media challenges in the fire service
  • Facebook and the First Amendment
  • Firefighter Misconduct: the company officer’s role and responsibility
  • Fire officer’s legal primer
  • Leadership case studies
  • Emails, Electronic Communications and Workplace Privacy
  • Discrimination
  • Sexual harassment
  • Hazing, pranks and bullying
  • Firefighter occupational safety and health
  • Report writing and documentation
  • Courtroom testimony
  • Collective bargaining
  • Legal update – Arson
  • Legal update – Fourth Amendment
  • Legal update – Fire Scene Spoliation
  • Firefighters and the right to remain silent
  • Liability trends and traps
  • Leadership & liability
  • Public Records Law in the Digital Age

If you are interested in hosting a class in your area, please contact me at A full listing of my open enrollment classes can be found on Fire Law Blog -