Spokane Fire Confronts Hazing of Probies

The Spokane Fire Department is reviewing an investigative report into allegations of hazing and bullying of probationary employees at one of their fire stations. The investigation was conducted by the city’s Human Resource department who interviewed 30 members.

Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer is now reviewing the report and will have to decide whether to take disciplinary action against those involved. The concerns were brought to light by a lieutenant who reported that the “culture at Station 2 creates an unhealthy atmosphere for probationary employees and members of Station 2 take pride in bullying probationary employees.”

The 40-page report recommends disciplinary hearings for five members and training for all members. More on the story.

Today’s story breaks on the heels of another hazing-related lawsuit in FDNY, which was covered yesterday. Hazing, harassment and bullying are one of the 10 High Risk Policy Areas that account for 75% of fire service litigation. And as Gordon Graham from Lexipol says, if it’s Predictable, it’s Preventable.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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