The idea that firefighters dislike cops, and vice versa, has been around since first responders began. While it may sound juvenile, there are times when the different agencies have come across some form of conflict between responders, leaders, or heads of the respective agencies at the local level. One way these issues arise is determining who’s in charge at the scene of a crime or accident. The fire department might feel it needs to take control of an explosion site, or the police department might feel it needs to take over a crash scene. Regardless of the scenario at hand, multi-agency conflict resolution is crucial to keeping the peace between the different first responder agencies.
Conflict Resolution and Creating a Working Relationship
Developing a good working relationship with other agencies is an effort that takes place proactively. Finding ways to interact and work together apart from the emergency response is a good place to begin.
For fire departments, training with the police department can create a forum for understanding and joint problem-solving. For instance, both EMS and law enforcement agencies usually engage in training to de-escalate potentially dangerous scenarios. Performing this kind of training as a collective amongst each other enhances the problem-solving skills of all involved.
Another way to impose conflict resolution through hands-on training is by opening the opportunity for ride-alongs. Firefighters might not completely grasp the gravity of how often police officers must deal with people who are mentally ill, and police officers might not fully understand the intensity and focus needed to stabilize patients or put out a fire.
When conflict or disagreements occur, those in both agencies must have the desire to mitigate them on the spot and work to resolve them. Interagency conflict should never take away from patient care, and everyone must understand and adhere to the common goal of helping those in need.
Come Together to Help Others
Leadership matters when it comes to working effectively with various agencies. Leaders of all emergency response agencies should hold regular meetings to discuss priorities individually and as a whole. These sessions should also focus on the challenges and critical issues that each agency faces. Such conversations must go past ego and hierarchy and open the door to honesty. Career and volunteer providers must come together on equal standing and mutual respect to provide the best public service.
Emergency medical responders and law enforcement officers have the same goals, after all: to keep people safe, mitigate harm, and bring order to chaotic situations. When all those in multiple agencies work well together under the right leadership, the best outcomes occur.
About Provident Fire Plus
At Provident Fire Plus, we offer custom-tailored packages to best protect firefighters and volunteer firefighters. We understand the risks that emergency response teams are subjected to on a daily basis, and have worked to serve these dedicated professionals for over 87 years. For more information about our products and policies, we invite you to contact our experts today at (855) 201-8880.