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[Home] [2014 Editorials]

Editorial

August, 2014

ETHICS AND THE RAT

Rat (rat) n1.  Any of various long-tailed rodents resembling , but larger than, mice; especially, one of the genus Rattus2.  Any of various similar animals.  3.  Slang.  A despicable, sneaky person, especially one who betrays or informs upon his associates.

Snitch (snitch) vsnitched, snitching, snitches.  Slang. -tr. To steal (something of little or no value).  -intr.  To turn informer.  Usually used with on.

(Source - Houghton Mifflin Canadian Dictionary)

ASTTBC Code of Ethics

WinstonChurchillEnemiesQuote

 

Vancouver, British Columbia

From ASTTBC’s June 2014 eNews:

“Principle 9 - Report to the appropriate agencies any hazardous, illegal or unethical professional decisions or practices by other members, or others.

Amplification:  Members must immediately report any hazardous, illegal or unethical conduct of which they become aware and take all measures required to correct or block the conduct. This principle is not limited to the work place.

Commentary:  Through informal contact, normal working relationships, or special circumstances such as design reviews, one member may develop the opinion that the work of another member is deficient. The inadequacies may arise from unskilled practice and/or unprofessional conduct.

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Points of Interest:
Stir up the Gray Matter with
Nick Markowitz &
Al Colombo

In Memoriam
G. Richard (Rich) Morris
Celebrating a truly
remarkable life!

CFAA’s Tribute
SCC’s Tribute
ULC’s Tribute

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If the immediate physical safety of the public is in jeopardy, speedy notification of the owner, operator or appropriate regulatory authorities is the immediate duty of the member. Prompt notification is necessary to prevent potential harm to the public through the continuation of unacceptable practices. Members have a responsibility to be aware of hazards to society created by their profession, and also have a responsibility to report unethical practice, unskilled practice or unprofessional conduct so it may be dealt with through the disciplinary process.

Some hazards are slow to develop, yet are of potentially great danger, such as chemical waste disposal.

Such actions should be reviewed with the same concern for maximum public protection and minimum environmental impact.

Ignoring unprofessional practices, either for expediency or sympathy, may indirectly endanger the public, and is contrary to a member's responsibility of self-regulation that is practiced within the Association.

Intentionally refraining from reporting substantive breaches of the Code of Ethics on the part of another member therefore constitutes unprofessional conduct.”

I’m constantly amazed at the reaction garnered by technicians and managers of fire service companies over the reporting of illegal activity and substandard practice.  Wouldn’t you want to know whether-or-not an individual charged with the protection of the public is performing his duties in a manner consistent with that trust?  The positive responses I keep getting certainly says so!

I was having my car serviced the other day when one of the shop’s owners approached me and asked if there was some way they could verify the information they received from an ASTTBC Registered Technican about one of their emergency light units was, in fact, accurate.  The technician had advised that unit’s charger was “cooking” the stand-by battery and that they could expect to replace the battery at a greater frequency unless the unit was replaced.  The thing that concerned me was that the tag on the unit didn’t happen to mention this.  In fact, the tag simply indicated a “normal” test (the “Additional Work Required” column was blank).  My advice to the concerned owner was to ask for a copy of the actual test report which should detail the condition of the charger and the technician’s recommendations (in many ways this is similar to what this dealership provides - and what I’ve come to expect - every time my car is serviced).

For a number of years now, we’ve featured something I dubbed the “Burning Brick Awards” which detailed technician and corporate malpractice which (largely) took place in B.C.’s Lower Mainland (where I happen to work).  We never named the technicians involved, but we did exhibit the company tags/labels and copies of the bogus testing reports (when we could get our hands on them).  The public “outing” of the companies involved went hand-in-hand with the formal complaint that we filed with ASTTBC over the technicians conduct.  The Code of Ethics and Technician Conduct is clear.  Substandard or inadequate inspection practices MUST be reported, but this actually pales when you look at the last part of the section we quoted above called amplification:

    “Ignoring unprofessional practices, either for expediency or sympathy, may indirectly endanger the public, and is contrary to a member’s responsibility of self-regulation that is practiced within the Association. 

    Intentionally refraining from reporting substantive breaches of the Code of Ethics on the part of another member therefore constitutes unprofessional conduct.”

I simply don’t believe it can be made any clearer.

As a PROFESSIONAL engaged in the (almost exclusive) business of Fire Alarm Verification, I have adopted (and am bound) by the same Code of Ethics and Conduct to which every RFPT (Registered Fire Protection Technician) subscribes to (not-with-standing that my company is a member of CFAA, and therefor bound to THEIR Code of Ethics as well).

So what is it I’m saying?  Simple.  I’m taking a stand and putting those of you still engaged in sub-standard practice on notice.  While we won’t be featuring your employer (or your company) in a Burning Brick Nomination, we will continue to provide ASTTBC’s new Practice Compliance Officer with all the details (if you happen to be working in the Lower Mainland).

We’ve also put ASTTBC “on notice” as well.  There are a number of suggestions and recommendations which we’ve made in a previous EDITORIAL.

I expect great things in the coming months!

 

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