Values and the Combination Department

Technical BulletinLast updated Monday, June 8, 2009
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The Arcata Fire Protection District (AFPD) is in transition. The problem is that the AFPD has not identified organizational values and this may be contributing to internal conflict. The district is without a clear vision and purpose based on core values. The purpose of this research project was to identify and assess the values of the personnel who serve as responders for the AFPD and adopt a relevant values statement. Action research was used to answer the following questions: a) What are the values of AFPD personnel; b) In what ways are the values of career and volunteer personnel congruent; c) How do the values influence participation; and d) How do the values impact the AFPD? Three questionnaires were developed to provide an audit of the values of the members and to determine the influence the values have on participation and the organization.The results indicated general convergence of the individual values of career and volunteer personnel. Despite the agreement on individual values, career and volunteer personnel diverged in their identification of group and ideal values. Responses indicated that the members believe that their values are an integral part of their participation. Committee members also assessed the impact of values on the organization. A committee reviewed the results and created a values statement based on the values of safety, teamwork, responsibility, professionalism, education and skill. The values statement has been adopted by the organization. Recommendations include strategies for institutionalizing the values to make them an integral part of the organizations culture and using them to assist in creating goals and vision for the fire district.These include posting values at all stations, making the statement part of initial and refresher training, creating new events and traditions to reinforce the values, and formalizing the values through policy creation and adoption.

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