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Code of conduct

The Association of Wildland Firefighting is registered as an independent, non-governmental, non-profit organisation. Any person or organisation associated with the wildland firefighting/integrated fire management fraternity qualifies to be a member.

This Association seeks to enhance synergies between the various entities responsible for wildfire and integrated fire management, and one of the main aims is to professionalise the wildfire fighting industry in South Africa.

The underlying guiding principles of the Association are set out in this Code of Conduct; the members will be sourced from varying establishments and as such it is expected that a standard set of guidelines will serve as overarching principles; each member will be asked and expected to conduct themselves in the manner prescribed.

The role of the members within the framework of the Association is to determine and implement such methods, practices and circumstances in preventing, pre-suppressing and controlling wildland fires whilst working with coordinating authorities, at all times within the guidelines of the Code of Conduct as presented here.

The Code of Conduct sets out the professional standards required by the Association as a condition of membership. It applies to all members, irrespective of their membership status. It governs the conduct of the individual within the bounds of the Association.

Compliance with this Code demonstrates members’ respect for the service they perform and the manner in which they perform their duties; it covers their attitude and approach to their fellow members and society at large. The Association performs a vital function within multiple communities: the purpose of this Code of Conduct is to protect and serve society by inspiring, guiding, and governing members in the conduct of their professional lives.

This Code of Conduct establishes what is held to be right or wrong, legal or illegal.

The Association will accommodate individuals from all aspects of the Wildland Firefighting community, including the fire service, forestry, agriculture and conservation sectors, and is expected that all members will act and behave in a manner that is conducive to safety, well being and the overall purpose of the needs of the wildfire community.

On joining the Association of Wildland Firefighting (‘the Association’), members assume a special responsibility to the profession and to society by promising to uphold and abide by the following standards:

Professional Competence and Integrity

Members shall:
  • Only do work or provide a service that is within their professional competence and that they have been trained to undertake.
  • Not claim any level of competence that they do not possess, either in applying for membership or carrying out duties.
  • Develop their professional knowledge, skills and competence on a continuous basis, maintaining awareness of technological developments, procedures, and standards that are relevant to their field; they will complete all prescribed courses and training sessions.
  • Ensure that they have the knowledge and understanding of South African legislation pertaining to Wildland Fire Fighting; that they comply with such legislation in carrying out their professional responsibilities.
  • Respect and value alternative viewpoints of other professionals, and acknowledge and utilise critical assessments to improve their skills.
  • At all times avoid injuring others, their property, reputation, or employment by false or malicious or negligent action or inaction.
  • Reject and not make any offer of bribery or unethical inducement during the course of their duties.

Respect for Persons

Members shall:
  • At all enable or empower others to achieve their potential through training, encouragement and positive reinforcement of actions.
  • Promote the social well being of others, whether co-workers or those being assisted.
  • Act with honesty, truthfulness and sincerity when dealing with others.
    respect the rights to liberty and the dignity of others.


Members must be aware of always employing acceptable behaviour that contributes to creating a positive, safe, environment by:

  • Conducting oneself in a civil and dignified manner; using welcoming and inclusive language for all colleagues.
  • Being respectful of the differing viewpoints, political backgrounds and experiences of members of the Association.
  • Accepting constructive criticism in the spirit in which it is given; not taking criticism personally in the pursuit of professionalism and safety.
  • Focusing on what is best in the circumstances for the community in which you are rendering service.
  • Always displaying empathy towards other community members.
  • Basing behaviour on honesty, fairness, good will, and respect for the law.

Unacceptable behaviour towards the Association and its members:

  • Insulting or derogatory comments addressed towards members of the Association, other fire fighting disciplines or members of the public.
  • Personal or political attacks at any time.
  • Public or private harassment of any individual.
  • Publishing others’ private information, such as a physical or electronic address, without explicit permission from the person or the Association
  • The use of sexualised language or imagery and unwelcome sexual attention or advances towards any member of the Association or public.
  • Any other conduct which could reasonably be considered inappropriate in a professional setting, and which could place the member or Association in a negative light.
  • Under no circumstances ever engage in activities involving alcohol or other substance use or abuse that can impair my mental state or the performance of my duties and compromise safety.


  • Honest and open communication, coupled with respect for information given in confidence, is essential at all times.
  • To always present, to the best of our ability, accurate and complete information to relevant sources; to indicate on whose behalf any public statements are made; to not disclose private opinions that might reflect negatively on the Association or others involved in the course of their duties.
  • To fully disclose and resolve any existing or potential conflicts of interest that might affect the Association in its duties and performance.
  • To keep proprietary information confidential unless the appropriate person authorizes its disclosure; including but not limited to information pertaining to the Association

Duty to Relevant Authority

Members shall:
  • Carry out their professional responsibilities with due care and diligence in accordance with the Relevant Authority’s requirements and instructions whilst exercising their professional judgement at all times.
  • Always ensure that their actions are not in conflict with the Relevant Authority; seek to avoid any situation that may give rise to a conflict of interest between themselves and the Relevant Authority; all interventions to be approved at all times in the interest of safety.
  • When acting with authority to accept professional responsibility for their work and for the work of colleagues who are defined in a given context as working under their supervision.
  • Not disclose or authorise to be disclosed, or use for personal gain or to benefit a third party, confidential information except with the permission of your Relevant Authority, or as required by Legislation.
  • Not misrepresent or withhold information on the performance of products, systems or services (unless lawfully bound by a duty of confidentiality not to disclose such information), or take advantage of the lack of relevant knowledge or inexperience of others.

Duty to the Profession

Members shall:
  • Accept their personal duty to uphold the reputation of the Association and not take any action which could bring the Association or its practices into disrepute.
    seek to improve professional standards through participation in their development, use and enforcement; always look to improve knowledge and skills.
  • Uphold the reputation and good standing of the Association; promote the ideals of the Association at all times.
  • Act with integrity and respect in their professional relationships with all members of the Association and with members of other professions with whom they work in a professional capacity.
  • Notify the Association if convicted of a criminal offence and give details of the relevant jurisdiction.
  • Encourage and support fellow members in their professional development.

Desired Outcome

The above Code of Conduct seeks to set a framework standard for the guidance of our members and to complement and promote professionalism, reduce responder and civilian risk and at the same time allows for continuous improvement in all aspects of integrated wildfire management.