Fire Service Personnel Management

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9780130128850: Fire Service Personnel Management

Unique in focus and content, this book explores the basic concepts of public personnel management as they apply specifically to the fire service environment and circumstances. Reflecting the author's extensive experience as a fire chief of a large fire department and a state fire training director, it features insights, discussions, and real-world examples that fire service personnel will recognize and relate to instantly. Overview of Personnel Management. Workforce Issues of the 21st Century. Legal Issues. Job Analysis and Design. Fire Service Recruitment. Selection for Employment and Promotion. Training and Development. Performance Appraisal. Discipline. Health and Safety. Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining. For practicing and prospective fire service personnel managers.

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About the Author:

Steven T. Edwards is the director of the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute of the University of Maryland. The Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute is the state's comprehensive training agency for emergency services, training more than 34,000 students each year. He is a former fire chief of the Prince George's County Fire Department in Maryland, where he served for 25 years in a variety of positions from high school cadet to fire chief. Edwards also serves as chair of the board of directors of the Safety Equipment Institute, chair of the Congressional Fire Service Institute National Advisory Committee, as well as numerous local- and state-level appointments. In 1997, he was elected as the president of the North American Fire Training Directors.

Edwards is a graduate of the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) with a bachelor's degree in fire service management and a master's degree in general administration. Both degrees were achieved with summa cum laude honors. He has attended the Harvard University John F Kennedy School of Government "Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government" and the National Fire Academy, and has presented at national conferences and seminars. Edwards is currently a member of the adjunct faculty at UMUC, teaching its course in fire service personnel management.

During his career of more than 35 years in fire service, Edwards received numerous awards and honors, including the Prince George's County Fire Department "Gold Star of Valor" in 1979 for the rescue of two firefighters at a major fire and explosion. During his tenure as fire chief, the department received the IAFC Award for Excellence as well as twenty-eight National Association of Counties Awards for Excellence. While continuing his fire service career at the University of Maryland, the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute was selected as the Congressional Fire Service Institute National Fire Service Organization of the Year for 1999. In addition, Edwards received the University of Maryland President's Distinguished Service Award in 2003 for exceptional performance, leadership, and service.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Not too long ago, I was sitting in my office working on a new personnel-related policy for our department. At the time, I was fire chief of the Prince George's County Fire Department, a large metropolitan fire department adjacent to Washington, DC. As I was thinking about the new policy, my executive assistant came in and informed me that there was a third alarm fire in the southern portion of the county. I could continue to work on the personnel matter or respond to the fire, even though I knew that my presence was not really needed. In an instant, I was out the door to the emergency.

I returned several hours later and sat back at my desk to finish some departmental business. The new personnel policy was still there as I had left it. I began to think, Which was the more important function for me to perform? Going to the multiple alarm was fun; I got to see people I did not see on a regular basis and did a couple of press interviews about the incident. Our officers are highly qualified and could handle these types of incidents very well. My presence at this emergency was not really needed; it was a large fire, but relatively routine. I was thinking, Fire response is great; you make decisions with no committees and firefighters do what they are told with no questions asked. It's challenging, dynamic, and you get instant feedback on how well you are doing. Too bad personnel matters were not as easy.

I then looked down and thought about the new personnel policy. It occurred to me that this new policy would have substantial long-term value to the department. It would improve our management and our ability to work more closely with our most valuable resource—the members of the fire department. If fire officers put as much effort into personnel management as they did on response to emergencies, think how much better we would all be. I knew that the personnel policy would significantly enhance our capability of dealing with a host of complex and challenging issues. I felt guilty for going to the fire because I should have done what was more important. The new personnel policy was finished before I left work late that evening.

Much of the reason for writing Fire Service Personnel Management was because there is a lack of specific information available to fire departments on this topic. One can find bits and pieces of personnel management in fire service management texts, but not a concentration on this very important subject. I wanted to be able to contribute to what I have found to be the most important resource in any organization—people. It seemed logical to me that if we always say this, then we should be able to study personnel management as it specifically relates to the fire service environment. If we are successful in managing the people in our organizations better, that success will spread to other departmental functions and magnify their successes.

This book is for fire department officers and prospective officers—not management generalists. It uses established personnel management concepts and examines them as they directly relate to fire departments. Therefore this book is dedicated to the improvement of personnel management of fire departments and, in the process, enrich the work environment of fire department employees. I hope that I have made a small contribution to this very important task.

Wherever you see the word fire department in this text it means a fully functional department that provides an array of services to the public including fire suppression, emergency medical services, hazardous materials response, fire code, investigations, public education services, and others. Fire department in this context is not meant to be restricted to those that provide fire service only. Employees in this book means any member of the fire department, be they career or volunteer, uniform or civilian.

There is a certain feeling of success and pride that one gets when he or she extinguishes a fire or makes a rescue. I hope that each of you has that same feeling when you successfully manage a difficult personnel situation. Good luck.

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