Course Syllabus


Course: Political and Legal Foundations of Fire Protection

Course & Section: FES 3004

Credit Hours: 3


** On-line


Instructor: Ronald E Gill Jr. 

Ronnie Gill Jr. has over 30 years of public safety experience with the last seven years as the Director of the Office of Emergency Management for Prince George’s County, Maryland. Mr. Gill was previously employed with the District of Columbia Fire & Emergency Medical Services Department and retired after 25 years as the Deputy Fire Chief of Special Operations and Homeland Security. Under his direction, the Office of Emergency Management provides oversight and coordination for emergency and disaster consequence management planning, response and recovery operations for Prince George’s County. Director Gill is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program National Fire Academy, United States Fire Administration. Mr. Gill earned his Associate and Bachelor of Fire Science Degrees from the University of the District of Columbia and Master of Science in Management from the Johns Hopkins University. In addition, he is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Fire and Emergency Management from Oklahoma State University.

Office Hours:  I will be available generally 5 to 9 p.m. weekdays.

**Course Website:

** Course Communications: There is a General Discussion tab that can be used, or send me an email through the course email. You can email me any time. Please call if you have questions. I will be available generally 5 to 9 p.m. weekdays.

Required Text

      • Fire Service Law Second Edition (2017); Larry Bennett, Brady Publishing (Pearson) ISBN: 1478633972 - YOU CAN RENT THIS ON AMAZON FOR THE SEMESTER
      • Fire Protection Handbook, 20th Edition (2008); Volumes I and II, Arthur E. Cote (Editor), National Fire Protection Association ISBN: 9780877657583
      • Supplemental material can be found on-line for the most recent case law. If you use on-line material please cite appropriately. Wikipedia will not be allowed. 

**Additional Resources: Use resources on the course site under the Resource tab

**Course Description: This course examines the legal aspects of the fire service and the political and social impacts of legal issues affecting the fire service. This course includes a review of the American legal system and in-depth coverage of legal and political issues involving employment and personnel matters, administrative and operational matters, planning and code enforcement, and legislative and political processes with regard to the fire service.

**Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills: None

Purpose of Course: This course provides an understanding of the legal and political system as it pertains to the fire service.

Course Goals and/or Objectives: By the end of this course, students will:

  1. Identify potential legal and political issues in fire and emergency services.
  2. Describe legal lessons learned from recent cases, and identify best practices in the fire service to avoid legal liability.
  3. Analyze and apply legal rules and political issues to manage risk.
  4. Formulate political and legal conclusions and recommendations based on the analysis.
  5. Locate and apply recent legal and legislative online resources.

** How This Course Relates to the Student Learning Outcomes in the FIRe emergency services program: As many aspects of Fire and Emergency Services are intertwined with the law, the student shall demonstrate knowledge and legal application of safety, health and environmental regulations at state and federal levels. The student shall also demonstrate strong verbal and written communication skills for leadership in fire and emergency services.

**Teaching Philosophy: I am looking for students to demonstrate a working knowledge of the subject. You need to be creative when you complete your assignments but maintain a professional appearance of your work. Your work needs to be complete and in such a manner that someone can pick up your document and understand what you are trying to convey. And most of all, your work needs to be supported with research and cited in properly in APA format.

**Instructional Methods: The course is designed for individual and group interactivity. It is important to post and respond to discussion questions in the course within the time frame allotted. This provides a learning environment by networking with other students in the course. The assignments are individual base to give you the opportunity to do a variety of activities, in many cases, similar to what you will be doing in role as a leader in the emergency services profession.  

Course Policies:

Attendance Policy: The course is designed in module format. You should check the site at least once a week. You are required to complete the assignments including discussion questions within the time period designated on the module. There will be meetings set up throughout the course. Requirements for class attendance and make-up exams, assignments, and other work in this course are consistent with university policies that can be found in the online catalog at:

**Quiz/Exam Policy: There is a final project for this course. There are no exams or quizzes.

Make-up Policy: You must contact me if you are going to be late on any assignment to receive credit.

**Assignment Policy: All assignments have a due date. Please be sure to check the date and time it is due in each module.

**Course Technology: Class meetings will require a web camera and mic/audio. If you are not able to use a web camera you will need to at least provide audio/mic, you can call in on a phone also.

** UF’s honesty policy  

UF students are bound by The Honor Pledge which states, “We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honor and integrity by abiding by the Honor Code.  On all work submitted for credit by students at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied: “On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment.” The Honor Code has been updated in 2018 and specifies a number of behaviors that are in violation of this code and the possible sanctions. Furthermore, you are obliged to report any condition that facilitates academic misconduct to appropriate personnel. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with the instructor for this class. Please click on the link below for the most recent version.

UF Policies:

University Policy on Accommodating Students with Disabilities: Students requesting accommodation for disabilities must first register with the Dean of Students Office ( The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the instructor when requesting accommodation. You must submit this documentation prior to submitting assignments or taking the quizzes or exams. Accommodations are not retroactive, therefore, students should contact the office as soon as possible in the term for which they are seeking accommodations.

University Policy on Academic Misconduct: Academic honesty and integrity are fundamental values of the University community. Students should be sure that they understand the UF Student Honor Code at

**Netiquette: Communication Courtesy: All members of the class are expected to follow rules of common courtesy in all email messages, threaded discussions and chats. [Describe what is expected and what will occur as a result of improper behavior]

Getting Help:

For issues with technical difficulties for E-learning in Sakai, please contact the UF Help Desk at:

  • (352) 392-HELP - select option 2
  • resources are available at for:
  • ** Any requests for make-ups due to technical issues MUST be accompanied by the ticket number received from LSS when the problem was reported to them. The ticket number will document the time and date of the problem. You MUST e-mail your instructor within 24 hours of the technical difficulty if you wish to request a make-up.
  • Counseling and Wellness resources
  • Disability resources
  • Resources for handling student concerns and complaints
  • Library Help Desk support

Should you have any complaints with your experience in this course please visit to submit a complaint.

Tentative course schedule:

Week 1

Introduction – online post Read Syllabus and review course content Nature of Law Assign Module One – Discussion and Assignment Assign Final Project

Week 2

Types of Law Module One Discussion and Assignment due

Week 3

Institutions of Law Assign Module Two – Discussion and Assignment

Week 4

Civil Trials Module Two Discussion and Assignment due

Week 5

Criminal Trials Assign Module Three Discussion and Assignment

Week 6

Warrants and Alternatives to Trials Module Three Discussion and Assignment due

Week 7

Constitutional Law--Employment and Personnel Issues Assign Module Four Discussion and Assignment

Week 8

Federal Law--Employment and Personnel Issues Module Four Discussion and Assignment due

Week 9

State Law--Employment and Personnel Issues Assign Module Five Discussion and Assignment

Week 10

Local Law--Employment and Personnel Issues Module Five Discussion and Assignment due

Week 11

Operational and Managerial Issues Assign Module Six Discussion and Assignment

Week 12

The Fire Official as Rule-Maker and Enforcer Module Six Discussion and Assignment due

Week 13

Politics in Action Assign Module Seven Discussion and Assignment

Week 14

Politics and Budgeting Module Seven Discussion and Assignment due

Week 15

Final Project due


Grading Policies:

The grade is based on a point system. You divide the total number of earned points into the total amount of points available to determine your grade. A grading rubric for the final project is under the Resource Tab on the course.


Points or percentage

Grading Discussion Participation – 15 points each discussion

105 points

Homework Assignments – 15 points each assignment

105 points

Final Project - comprehensive and applied

100 points

Total Grade

310 points


See regarding current UF grading policies.

Grading Scale

A   = 93.0 to 100%

A-  = 90.0 to 92.9   

B+ = 87.0 to 89.9

B   = 83.0 to 86.9

B-  = 80.0 to 82.9  

C+ = 77.0 to 79.9   

C   = 73.0 to 76.9    

C-  = 70.0 to 72.9

D+ = 67.0 to 69.9

D   = 63.0 to 66.9

D-  = 60.0 to 62.9

 F   = below 60  

Evaluation process:

Students are expected to provide feedback on the quality of instruction in this course based on 10 criteria. These evaluations are conducted online at Evaluations are typically open during the last two or three

Weeks of the semester, but students will be given specific times when they are open.

Summary results of these assessments are available to students at

Course Summary:

Date Details Due