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Section 17: Alcohol, Substance Abuse and Smoking Policy

It is the goal and policy of Western EMS to provide an environment that is substance free. The use and misuse of controlled substances is grossly inconsistent with the behavior expected of our members. It subjects our members, patients, and observers to unacceptable safety risks, and undermines the entire mission of Western EMS. In this connection, the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, sale, or use of a controlled substance while participating in any Western EMS function is strictly prohibited. Such activities are also prohibited during non-working hours.

Western EMS is concerned only where safety, job performance, or attendance is affected. Western EMS does not wish to intrude in an individual’s private life. However, when on or off duty activities affect a member’s ability to satisfactorily perform their duties or affects the condition in which a member reports for duty, Western EMS is rightfully concerned. It is the expectations of Western EMS, that maintaining satisfactory job performance is the responsibility of all members. A person will not consume alcoholic beverages within twelve hours of his/her shift. The decision to acknowledge substance abuse problems and seeking assistance is also the member’s responsibility.
Members who violate any part of this policy, do so with the understanding that they may be subject to disciplinary action up to, and including, removal from Western EMS. Chemical dependency is regarded as a treatable disease and Western EMS can help provide channels for assistance while maintaining confidentiality.
Smoking is considered a dangerous risk to the health of both the smoker and the people in their vicinity. Therefore, Western EMS feels that a health care worker who smokes is engaging in a behavior that is inconsistent with the profession.

Although the intent of this policy is not invade the privacy of a member, it is mandated that when a member is working for Western EMS in any capacity or wearing any part of the uniform, smoking, consuming alcohol and other substances that can alter a member’s judgment is prohibited. This policy is intended to portray a professional image and to be considerate of coworkers while on duty. It is the responsibility of the Senior EMT or Duty Lieutenants to enforce this policy. Please see Section 21: Discipline and Conduct Code for more information.

If a violation or reasonable suspicion to believe a member is under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance or illegal drugs during the work period, the member must submit to an alcohol or drug test.

The final responsibility lies with each member.