IAFC: Leaders must ensure ‘equality of opportunity and inclusivity’

The organization encouraged fire departments to implement a zero-tolerance policy for “acts of deliberate or intentional discrimination”

Read Robert Rielage’s reaction to the IAFC’s reaffirmation of their 2013 commitment to human dignity, and learn where the problem issues are in the fire industry.  

By FireRescue1 Staff

DALLAS — In response to recent incidents of discrimination in the fire service, the International Association of Fire Chiefs released a statement that reminded members of the organization’s Human Dignity statement and recommended all fire departments adopt a zero-tolerance policy.

The statement, released Monday during the IAFC Board of Directors’ annual meeting, notes that discrimination of any kind “breaks down our abilities to work together” and vowed to “ensure an equal opportunity and fair treatment for all.”

The board highlighted one particular incident that had occurred in the past month. A fire chief was targeted and attacked on social media “by several anonymous, faceless and cowardly individuals using racial slurs and despicable language that has no place in the public domain.”

The board of directors also reminded members of the IAFC Human Dignity statement, which was adopted in 2013:

“As an organization, we must take positive steps to ensure human dignity by avoiding any remaining vestiges of discrimination or unequal treatment including, but not limited to, a basis on race, color, spirituality, gender, age, national origin, ancestry, socio-economic backgrounds, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, ethnicity, marital status or any legally protected characteristic.”

The organization called upon fire departments everywhere to implement a zero-tolerance policy “for acts of deliberate or intentional discrimination.”

“It is important for leaders to maintain a fire and emergency service where each of us is morally committed to ensuring equality of opportunity and inclusivity for every individual,” the statement said.

The IAFC added that they will “lead by example” and draw attention to acts of racism on members of the fire service who are made “victims of this type of hatred.”

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