by Bill Bays
Fireman, Medical First Responder and Chaplain
Keyesport (IL) Fire Department
Firefighters are rescuers. We like the adrenalin rush of a call, driving the big trucks through traffic with lights and siren calling upon everybody to get out-of-the-way. We like saving life and property. We like the feeling of being able to bring a big blaze under our control. Even simple things like directing traffic and bystanders carries with it the element of authority and control. We like the authority that being in charge brings and the idea that we are in control. These are not bad things, but instead, are essential in a crisis situation. The vast majority of those in our ranks are upstanding men and women who want to make a positive difference in the world and use the power they possess for the benefit of society. Sometimes though, these personality traits are used in wrong ways. Misuse of power and control is obviously not exclusive to firefighters, just the focus of this discussion.
It is common sense that certain occupations are more fertile breeding grounds than others for the abuse of power and control. The armed services, law enforcement and prison guards, firefighters and yes, even the clergy, are some occupations where it is reasonable to assume there is a high risk of individuals with power and control dysfunction. First, we know that there are no statistics to quantify the problem within these occupations. Secondly, power and control is accepted in such occupations and it’s exaggeration or abuse is often overlooked as a byproduct of the high stress factor of these jobs. But unfortunately, what is seen in public is often only the tip of the iceberg as to what happens in private at home. There are some built-in restraints out in society that abusers might not cross over because they like or need their jobs. But the home front is often more private and such misbehavior is empowered by secrecy. Continue reading “Domestic Violence in the Fire Service”
by Jacquetta Gomes
Faith and Fire is an independent partnership in the United Kingdom between some Fire and Rescue Services (FRS), and faith communities to develop mutual respect. It also increases the awareness of faiths to FRS staff and volunteers.
Faith and Fire has a website which offers a resource for FRSs by offering information on topics including Chaplaincy, faiths, interfaith, death and dying, mindfulness, PTSD and trauma. Faith and Fire welcomes relevant submissions to the website.
Faith Leaders and some UK Fire and Rescue Services are currently represented on the Faith and Fire Steering Group.
The World Congress of Faiths supports Faith and Fire and is represented on the Steering Group. Jacquetta Gomes spoke on “Faith and Fire – Partnership: Fire Officers and Faith Communities” at the Religious Freedom Responsibility for Planet and People conference, 20-23 August 2013 in Horsham, West Sussex, England UK hosted by the International Association for Religious Freedom, the World Congress of Faiths and the Horsham Interfaith Forum. The Conference book, which includes her talk: Religious Freedom and Responsibility For Planet and People, IARF International Association for Religious Freedom, 2013. (ISBN 978-0-9538172-2-1).
Faith and Fire was started in 2013 by Fire Officer Daryl Oprey [the then CFOA Chief Fire Officers Association Lead on Equality and Inclusion] and Jacquetta Gomes [his then Advisor on Interfaith and Multifaith]. Faith and Fire developed from work they undertook in 2012 with BGKT Buddhist Group of Kendal (Theravada), Ketumati Buddhist Vihara Manchester, and the MBC Manchester Buddhist Convention.
In 2012 Fire Officer Daryl Oprey stated “With respect to the Fire Service involvement it is around us being a more inclusive, aware and conspicuous service not just about dealing with tragedy but preventing it. We treat everyone as members of society and appreciate that our service delivery needs to be shown as being adaptable and considerate of all faiths and cultures. It is not enough to believe that ‘one size fits all’.”
Buddhist and Multifaith Fire Chaplaincy
Information on Buddhist and Multifaith Fire Chaplaincy is available on the Faith and Fire website: