C.E.M.P. Code of Team Conduct

C.E.M.P. is a professional volunteer group working with professional public agencies. All members are expected to maintain high standards of performance and conduct that will promote public and professional trust, and provide the best possible service to citizens and commissioning agencies. Members are reminded to demonstrate cooperation, efficiency, integrity, professionalism, and accountability at all times. As a team, our actions, attitude, and work ethic will be scrutinized by those with whom we work and interact, by the agencies activating us, by the individuals being served and possibly by the public at large through the media.

Specific expectations include:

  1. The designated uniform, C.E.M.P. identification, and necessary safety equipment should be worn on scene at all times. The uniform should be clean and in good repair. In addition, when driving a C.E.M.P. vehicle to a scene, the designated uniform shall be worn. In the event a vehicle is driven for other servicing items, at a minimum an official C.E.M.P. shirt shall be worn.
  2. Adhere to the chain of command, become familiar with whom you are working with, follow directions, and keep event Operations or Incident Commander (collectively “IC”) informed. You are responsible for understanding your assignments and instructions – if in doubt, immediately ask for clarification.
  3. Avoid arguing with or challenging the authority of the (“IC”). If you have a problem with a decision made, communicate this during the debriefing after the event. (If there are representatives of other agencies or the public nearby, then communicate this with the IC after the debriefing privately in the SAR vehicle or via cell phone.) Note: If the IC is making a decision that you feel will affect immediate personal, patient, or public safety, you may politely request clarification or mention extenuating circumstances the IC may not be aware of.
  4. It’s important not to disagree with, argue with, shout at, or accuse a teammate in public. If you believe a teammate is doing something in error, pull him or her aside and communicate this politely and privately. If there is still doubt, contact the IC and respectfully request clarification. If it is a matter of immediate personal, patient, or public safety, assist your team member in a rapid and helpful, rather than accusatory, manner.
  5. When using the radio, avoid raising your voice, disagreeing with a team member, making accusations, or creating the impression of confusion, disunity, or apathy. If something is missing, you can’t locate a teammate, or there is another problem, make a clear, polite request that is free of blame.
  6. Remember that radio frequencies are easily scanned. So only communicate things you want the press or public knowing (i.e., the correct terminology for a dead body is Code David.)
  7. When on scene, it’s important not to display an emotion (such as frustration or anger) or behavior (such as derogatory remarks about patients, other organizations, or individuals) that will lead to loss of public or inter-agency faith in C.E.M.P. Additionally, keep in mind that the media may be nearby. Their cameras have zoom lenses and they utilize audio capturing devices.
  8. Always remember to check in with the IC (or, when applicable, the staging officer or scribe) when arriving on scene at a call-out and to check out when leaving. When on scene, do not change your assigned duty or leave your assigned location without first requesting permission from the IC. As this is a request, be willing to accept a negative response.
  9. Do not communicate with the media. Direct all requests to the IC or, if applicable, the Public Information Officer. Remember that anything you say, even the words “no comment,” may be printed or broadcast. In addition, do not laugh or joke around during a crime scene, missing persons search, or other disaster, in case the news media films this. In general, act as if there’s a camera and / or microphone pointed at you at all times – especially since, if you’re on scene at a major disaster, there probably will be.
  10. Adhere to applicable safety standards. All mobilized individuals have a responsibility to each other to be alert to and communicate all safety hazards to the IC or, if applicable, team safety officer. Report to the IC any medical condition that may arise that will interfere with your ability to safely perform your assigned tasks.
  11. No rubber-necking or picture-taking, unless authorized to do so by the IC.
  12. Always stay within visual distance of your assigned partners and/or applicants at all times, unless instructed otherwise or granted permission by the IC. In addition, avoid giving your radio to anyone. If representatives of another agency want to use your radio, offer to transmit the message for them instead.
  13. The consumption of alcohol, the use of illegal drugs, marijuana based products, tobacco products, the possession of firearms, and the use of foul language is strictly forbidden while in uniform or at a C.E.M.P. event.
  14. Individuals shall not enter private properties to perform C.E.M.P. duties without permission from the owner, supervising authority, or without law enforcement escort.
  15. Members driving team and personal vehicles must obey all traffic laws, unless directed otherwise by a law enforcement officer. Members must maintain appropriate auto insurance per local laws. Any infractions sustained while under direction of the team are the responsibility of that team member. Remember to drive all vehicles in a safe and courteous manner at all times, using appropriate signals and safeguards. In addition, team members are not authorized to drive Code 3 at any time, unless otherwise directed by the IC or law enforcement personnel.
  16. Individuals will be required to document or participate in documentation for each emergency activity or action in a timely manner, and submit documentation to the IC before demobilizing.
  17. Harassment of any kind against team members, supervisors, citizens, contractors, other agencies, or anyone else based on race, color, national origin, age, gender, disability, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, or any other class protected by civil rights laws is strictly forbidden.
  18. Before leaving an incident, training, or other team function, clean up any mess you are responsible for and return all procured equipment.
  19. Rescue dog handlers should remember to remain in control of their canine at all times. Canines should be kept on a short leash (three to four feet) at C.E.M.P. functions at all times unless they are actively training or unless a pre-approved supervised off-leash socialization exercise is being conducted. Handlers should also have sufficient control over their dogs to prevent any uninvited approach to any other animal or human. Handlers may not allow their dog to approach another handler’s dog except with the explicit consent of the other dog’s handler. Dogs tied to stationary objects should be under a qualified handler’s direct supervision and be tied at a length that does not interfere with other dogs, vehicles, or people. Dogs that bark excessively shall be kept away from areas where barking will disturb team operations and the general public. Dogs who exhibit protective behavior (i.e. snarling, lunging) within a vehicle or other confined space shall be parked away from any likely foot traffic, and the supervising handler shall ensure that the dog cannot come in contact with passersby.
  20. In general, misconduct, insubordination, refusal to follow orders or directives, dishonesty, inattention to duty, carelessness, or any conduct that you know or should know is improper behavior will not be tolerated and may result in immediate removal from the event and further disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the team.
  21. Keep in mind that these guidelines apply not just to call-outs and stand-by medical events, but to meetings, trainings, promotional events, and all other team activities where members of the public may be present, as well as representatives of agencies authorized to activate C.E.M.P.