Fire Service Law:  by Lawrence T. Bennett
404 pages, $53.95 list
eBook availability
Fire Service Law
Second Edition
The frequency of lawsuits in the private and public sectors is proliferating, and the fire service is not immune. The protections afforded by Sovereign Immunity have eroded, and fire departments are rightfully being held to quality standards. They face an increasing number of responsibilities that expose them to litigation. Given his legal background and ongoing active role in the fire service, the author is in a unique position to provide expertise on how to avoid legal problems by learning from the experiences of others. The second edition of Fire Service Law continues to provide much-needed coverage of the key areas in which a firefighter or fire department is likely to encounter litigation.

The fundamental legal principles presented will serve as an excellent foundation for proper decision making and protocol in a fire service organization. The real-life case studies and relevant examples taken from today’s headlines are valuable tools in the study of fire and EMS law. End-of-chapter review questions correspond to the case studies, and Expand Your Learning exercises are included for student and group assignments.

Readers of this authoritative guide can stay abreast of the latest court decisions affecting fire department operations by accessing the author’s Fire-EMS Law Newsletter website.

Recommended textbook National Fire Academy FESHE Model Curriculum (Bachelor’s core course)
“Well-written text with easy-to-follow court samples. Great textbook to be used in conjunction with formal class discussion groups.” — Kevin O’Hara, Suffolk Community College

“For students, the price and content are fantastic.” — Peter Chiodo, Oakton Community College

"Very well put together with lots of good information. I recommend this book for any educational program.” — Patrick Warner, Meridian Community College

“Mr. Bennett’s book is an excellent resource for getting my staff and even my legal department pointed in the right direction. It’s amazing how up-to-date the Second Edition is with today’s issues. The author’s passion for his cause, and doing things right, explodes off each page.” — Rick Sluder, Wauseon Fire Department
Table of Contents

1. The American Legal System: Search Warrants in Arson Investigations, Fire Code Enforcement, and Civil Litigation
Introduction / Violations of the Fourth Amendment / Arson Searches Without Warrant / Conviction Reversed—Evidence Seized Illegally from a Meth Lab / Fire Code Enforcement—Qualified Immunity of Fire Marshals and Fire Inspectors / Lawsuits by Survivors Alleging Failure to Enforce / Failure to Correct Fire and Municipal Code Violations / Failure to Enforce Building or Fire Codes

2. Line of Duty Death (LODD) and Safety: Litigation and the Fireman's Rule
Introduction / Litigation—Shock the Conscience / NIOSH Fire Fighter Investigation and Prevention Reports / Firefighters with Cardiac Arrests / Federal Death Benefits—14-Year-Old Junior Firefighter Not Covered / The Fireman's Rule / Whistleblower Protection

3. Homeland Security: National Incident Management System, USA Patriot Act, and War on Terrorism
Introduction / National Incident Management System (NIMS) / Threats to Dispatch Centers

4. Incident Command: Fire Scene Operations, Training, and Immunity
Introduction / Governmental Immunity and Qualified Immunity / Firefighter Drowned During Scuba Training / Death of Children

5. Emergency Vehicle Operations
Introduction / Intersections—Slow Down or Full Stop


6. Employment Litigation: Social Media, Age, Beards, Free Speech, and Promotions
Introduction / Social Media / Age Discrimination / Beards / Free Speech

7. Sexual Harassment: Hostile Work Atmosphere, Pregnancy Discrimination, and Gender Discrimination
Introduction / Pregnancy Discrimination / Physical Fitness Tests / Disparate Impact

8. Race Discrimination
Introduction / Title VII and EEOC / Affirmative Action / Consent Decrees / Boston Consent Decree Set Aside / New EEOC Guidance on Race Discrimination / Prompt Investigations

9. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Introduction / Congress Broadens the ADA, Overturning Two U.S. Supreme Court Decisions / U.S. Supreme Court Narrows Definition of Disability / Firefighters with Disabilities / Firefighters with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

10. Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Department of Labor Guide / Eligibility Under FMLA


11. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
Introduction / U.S. Department of Labor Regulations / Sick Leave Buy-Back / State Overtime Laws / Junior Firefighters—Child Labor Laws

12. A Drug-Free Workplace: Random Drug Testing and Firefighter DUIs
Introduction / Fire Department Policy

13. Emergency Medical Service (EMS) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
Introduction / Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) / DUI Consensual Blood Draw / Enforcement Access to EMS Run Reports / HIV Patients—U.S. Department of Justice Lawsuits / EMS Exposure to Infectious Disease

14. Physical Fitness
Introduction / NIOSH Recommendations on Firefighter Fitness / Litigation: Mandatory Fitness and Off-Duty Activities

15. Critical Incident Stress Management
Introduction / Ohio Enacts CISM Privilege Law


16. Discipline: Misconduct On Duty and Off Duty and Ethical Decision Making
Introduction / Ethical Decision Making / Off-Duty Conduct—Termination / Internal Investigations—Fifth Amendment Rights / Jury Verdicts and the First Amendment Right of Free Speech

17. Arbitration/Mediation
Introduction / Uniform Mediation Act / U.S. Supreme Court—Upholds Arbitration / Fire Service—Mediation to Resolve Pending Grievances


18. Legislative Process: Passing Helpful Laws for the Fire Service (Amending the Fireman's Rule)
Introduction / Modifying the Fireman's Rule

Appendix A: Higher Education in Fire Service
Appendix B: Playing Nice in the Sandbox
Appendix C: Real-Life Legal Lessons Learned
Appendix D: Diversity Goals
Appendices E–G: Sample Labor-Management Agreements