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Public Administration Ethical Issues: Fire Service Research Paper

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Updated: Dec 25th, 2020

Executive Summary

The given paper delves into the peculiarities of public administration related to the fire department and the most important issues associated with the given sphere. Being one of the fundamental aspects of modern society’s functioning, it still faces multiple problems and ethical issues that should be solved. Thus, the project aims at delving into the effectiveness of fire department functioning regarding the appearance of critical situations or natural disasters, ethical concerns such as the unfair distribution of facilities or costs, and ways to improve the overall situation in the given sphere.

In the course of the investigation, we come to the conclusion that regardless of the fact that the fire departments work and the public of administration are given significant attention, there are still such problems as decreased financing, unequal distribution of facilities, lack of educated specialists, and limited ability to assist individuals which might result in the emergence of ethical concerns. From the paper, the following recommendations can be given:

  • Devote more attention to educating fire department, public administration specialists;
  • Achieve appropriate distribution of facilities;
  • Attain sufficient financing;
  • Resolve ethical dilemmas by suggesting psychological aid;
  • Consider society interests by improving services.


In modern society, the sphere of public administration remains one of the key aspects guaranteeing the effective functioning of communities and their safety. For instance, Masters in public administration (MPA) in fire service become responsible for the protection of individuals from occasional fires, disasters, and other incidents. However, relevant research papers outline the existence of a critical problem related to the lack of educated and experienced specialists working in the sphere and limited financing that might result in the emergence in multiple issues including ethical ones. In such a way, the investigated problem is:

What is the impact on the lack of MPA in fire service, limited financing, discriminative employment, and to what degree they are responsible for the emergence of ethical concerns?


The investigation of the given problem demands an in-depth investigation of the issue and the analysis of the relevant literature. For this reason, to reveal the problem and attain an improved understanding of the issue, the research of the problem from different perspectives should be performed. To accomplish the given task, facts about the functioning of the fire department and drawbacks in its structure admitted by MPAs as well as the critical assessment of all ethical problems and literature should be considered. In such a way, it is possible to prove the existence of such issues as the lack of prepared specialists in the sphere of fire department fire administration that can result in multiple ethical concerns and inappropriate distribution of facilities.

For instance, Alvarez, Meacham, Dembsey, and Thomas (2013) state that the modern fire department can be characterized by the increased effectiveness if to compare with the previous years, and the tendency towards the gradual decrease in the level of fires. At the same time, the number of victims or causalities remains unacceptably high for the modern world (Alvarez et al., 2013). The authors explain this fact by the existence of several issues deteriorating outcomes, and one of them is the limited number of educated MPAs who understand the existing situation and can contribute to its improvement. For this reason, this problem acquires the top priority for the sphere of public administration and the effectiveness of the whole sector.

There is one more problem associated with the sphere and revealed by the existing scientific literature. Troitzsch (2016) states that today, the sector experiences a significant lack of financing because of the cuts and reconsideration of the budget distribution. The majority of MPAs working in the sphere note that the existing sums of money given to the sector are not enough as there is the need to monitor the situation in the most dangerous areas and introduce appropriate measures (Troitzsch, 2016). It also leads to unequal distribution of facilities across the state and problematic access in some areas. The lack of sponsorship and finances can become a serious problem affecting results and preconditioning the emergence of ethical issues.

At the same time, one of the causes for the emergence of the problem with workers is the existence of employment discrimination. Riccucci and Saldivar (2014) state that there is a surprising fact that regardless of the existing expectations, the majority of the lawsuits filed against fire departments come from white men. In such a way, the reverse discrimination can be observed. To a greater degree, it limits the income of new specialists (Riccucci & Saldivar, 2014).

At the same time, it preconditions the emergence of ethical concerns related to biased attitudes to representatives of particular races (Riccucci & Saldivar, 2014). It can also reduce the effectiveness of the sector and precondition the rise of controversial perspectives on how the sector should evolve and how it should function regarding the modern environment.

Finally, the majority of researchers outline the existing tendency towards the growth of ethical issues in communicating with individuals who suffered from fires of have to use fire departments’ services. There are several factors that can precondition the appearance of these problems as well as there are also many claims. These include the critical difference in attitudes to the organization of security in various areas and lack of attention to the hazardous locations (Cooper, 2012).

In such a way, the issues mentioned in the paper become critical for the public administration of the given sphere and introduction of appropriate measures to change the situation to achieve better outcomes and attain success.

Ethical Dilemma

In such a way, resting on the relevant information presented in the scientific literature devoted to the issue and the tendencies in the sphere, the existence of a certain ethical dilemma can be observed. The current employment discrimination practices result in the emergence of a deficit of MPAs working in the sphere and the lack of effective methods used to improve results and attain better outcomes.

The majority of experienced specialists working today in the sphere admit the urgent need for newly qualified staff that can achieve critical alterations in the sector, better financing, additional facilities, and their appropriate placement (Riccucci & Saldivar, 2014). All these factors can be considered a central cause of the emergence of multiple ethical dilemmas as the deteriorated functioning cannot satisfy the increased individuals’ needs. Their dissatisfaction preconditions the growing gap between people working in the sphere and residents who might suffer from fires.

Additionally, the lack of financing because of the decreased understanding of the current needs might cause substantial harm to areas and people living there. For this reason, the emergence of ethical concerns preconditioned by the reduced effectiveness can be stated. Inappropriate funding, a limited number of facilities, and problematic cooperation can result in further deterioration of the situation and the appearance of even new conflicts.

Course Themes

The given project is closely related to the themes mentioned during the course. The fact is that the majority of problems mentioned in the paper and ethical issues emerge due to the fallacies in the public administration sector. Being responsible for the alignment of the appropriate work of fundamental social institutions, this sort of specialist has specific methods and interventions that can contribute to the improvement of the situation and achievement of better results (Cooper, 2012). However, drawbacks in public administration can precondition multiple gaps in management and appropriate distribution of resources. That is why the majority of the course themes re relevant for the paper.


At the same time, the existence of the given ethical dilemma is recognized by authorities and MPAs working in the sphere. For this reason, there are numerous attempts to attract new workers to the field and guarantee the increased satisfaction levels among individuals who have to use fire department services. The existing approach preconditions the use of rewards and retirement plans as one of the possible solutions to the problem as it will help to attract new people and employees (Alvarez et al., 2013).

Moreover, attempts to eliminate discriminative employment practices are made. However, the effectiveness of these measures can be doubted because of the high dissatisfaction levels and numerous ethical concerns (Riccucci & Saldivar, 2014). Moreover, MPAs working in the sphere try to attain a significant increase in financing to ensure that gaps in knowledge and ethical dilemmas will be eliminated.


Regarding the situation presented above, and the existence of particular problems in the sphere of public administration, some recommendations can be given. First of all, there is a need to eliminate employment discrimination in the sector by emphasizing the necessity to involve representatives of all nations and cultures to diversify the sphere. It can also be achieved by demonstrating the lack of specialists who work in fire service.

Second, the majority of ethical issues that emerge due to the lack of financing and deficit of MPAs can be solved by the reconsideration of governmental policies utilized at the moment as they turn out to be ineffective regarding the emergence of multiple challenges in the sphere. Public administrators should ask for the appropriate distribution of facilities to ensure that better respond to threats will be achieved. All these actions should be performed regarding the existing social interests that should be satisfied to satisfy individuals.


Altogether, the giver research evidences the unique importance of public administration in contemporary society. Speaking about the work of fire departments, it is also possible to admit the existence of some ethical concerns related to the lack of educated specialists, poo financing, and a limited number of facilities. In such a way, the task to solve these problems acquires the top priority as one of the essentials of further communities’ evolution. The existence of discriminative patterns can also be considered a significant challenge to the sphere as it impacts the work of specialists and preconditions a certain deterioration of outcomes. In such a way, the application of the basics of public administration can help to solve the problem and attain better results regarding the fire service sector.


Alvarez, A., Meacham, B., Dembsey, N., & Thomas, J. (2013). Twenty years of performance-based fire protection design: Challenges faced and a look ahead. Journal of Fire Protection Engineering, 23(4), 249–276. Web.

Cooper, T. L. (2012). The responsible administrator: An approach to ethics for the administrative role (6th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Riccucci, N. M., & Saldivar, K. (2014). The status of employment discrimination suits in police and fire departments across the United States. Review of Public Personnel Administration, 34(3), 263–288. Web.

Troitzsch, J. H. (2016). Fires, statistics, ignition sources, and passive fire protection measures. Journal of Fire Sciences, 34(3), 171–198. Web.

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