Gender in First Response: How Biology and Physiology Shape Male and Female Responders

Gender politics project a considerable presence in most of the working world. So too do ills associated with gender, like sexual harassment and discrimination. The resultant effect is especially pronounced in historically male-dominated fields such as first response, where biases in hiring and testing practices have contributed to an ongoing, undeniable gender gap. Physiological, mental, and societal differences between males and females may further contribute, as can the broad, often volatile range of opinions surrounding gender issues. This paper will explore the biological and societal aspect of first response’s gender gap, reflecting on scientific research, statistical analysis, and real-world examples to provide context and factual basis; it will then discuss the benefits of a gender-aware approach to the hiring and continued employment of first responders of both genders.

Cross Training: The Risks and Rewards of Consolidating First Responder Skills

As those who work within the fire, law enforcement, and EMS fields know, there is very little middle ground between those who favor cross training—often referred to as “consolidation,” or the act of training one professional group with some combination of the other two groups’ skills—and those who oppose it. Voices on both sides of this debate make cogent points. Though the practice has recently come into vogue as a cost-cutting measure, communities may also utilize it as a talent- or staffing-optimization tool, among other uses. However, several potential risk factors and the need for a highly tailored deployment make initial success anything but guaranteed. The purpose of this report is to provide an objective overview on the topic, including relevant facts, comparison of success and failures, and takes on the opinions first responders have expressed regarding this contentious topic.

Spoliation: Why Even the Worst Training Records Are Better than No Records at All

Failure to manage training records correctly cannot only upend a department's ability to defend itself from criminal and civil claims, but can subject it to claims of spoliation. As the definition and consequences of spoliation continue to broaden, departments must ensure that their records management policies and systems are capable of providing them with the necessary layer of legal defensibility.

High stakes testing: What departments must know to get a step ahead of cheaters

With information easier to share than ever before – whether through e-mail, text messaging, social media, or otherwise – recent cheating incidents involving public safety professionals serve as a grim reminder that high stakes testing procedures have not kept pace with advances in technology.

Adopting Agile in a Government Context

The rate of success for IT projects, as measured in time, budgets, and features, can be discouraging for government entities looking to invest in better infrastructure. By focusing on business value, identifying helpful features, soliciting client insight, and rethinking what is valuable, however, Agile software development methods are responsible for appreciably higher success rates.