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Can Firefighters Be Sued For Negligence?

The job of a firefighter is difficult enough without the added stress about potential liability. A wide range of scenarios can lead to a negligence claim for the firefighters and emergency services staff within a fire department.

Understanding what constitutes negligence

Negligence, in most contexts, is the failure to behave with the care level that a hypothetical ‘prudent person’ would exercise under similar circumstances. This behavior can include any action that causes damage to people and property, as well as the omission of necessary measures. Gross negligence is the gross deviation from this reasonable standard. Learn the scenarios that can lead to a negligence suit:

Equipment safety: Rescue equipment needs to be maintained properly and regularly serviced to prevent malfunction.

Training: Crew training is crucial to preventing unnecessary injuries and risk. Training should be consistent, repeated often and according to an established policy.

Dispatch: A simple error in the information that the dispatcher takes down can lead to a wide array of errors. Such simple questions as the location and the type of emergency that the crew prepares for can be disrupted.

Fire outcome: There are very few situations that can result in a favorable outcome for a resident or homeowner whose house is damaged in a fire. There so many unknowns and variables involved that any preparation a fire crew can take to manage that risk can go a long way to preventing more risk areas.

Managing the risks of the job

Fighting a fire is an inherently risky endeavor. When you run into a burning structure, the last thing you need to be worried about is the potential for a lawsuit. Make sure that you and your whole crew understand the measures necessary to protect yourself from lawsuits.