Code of conduct and ethics

Introduction to the Code of Ethics

Human social structures function well when they have a common purpose, ethics and codes of behaviour, allowing them to trust one another. At the GFA want to create an atmosphere of trust, cooperation, and support, allowing you to be the best possible version of yourself. To this end, we have developed a code of ethics that should give us a framework to keep the joy and transformative power of the fire burning in our organisation as we grow to encompass differing cultures and schools of diverse backgrounds.
President, Peggy Dylan

Regarding our code of ethics

In this code the term ‘Firewalking Instructor’ refers to any professional, fee-paying firewalk training member of the GFA.

Firewalking Instructors are solely responsible for familiarising themselves with the legal framework, regulatory requirements and other guidance relevant to the particular context in which they work.

Firewalking Instructors are likely to need to make decisions in difficult, changing and unclear situations. It’s up to them to take responsibility for these decisions. The GFA provides no guidelines on standards for firewalking or ethics around firewalking. Decisions on a practical and ethical level are up to the member. The members should able to take this responsibility through the training he/she has received.

So, the Firewalking Instructors are themselves responsible for their professional judgement at all times.

We expect firewalking instructors to perform within their competence, and seek help if needed. They are also likely to act in a way that brings goodwill and an excellent reputation to firewalking in the public’s eyes.

We expect firewalking instructors to have an open mind and stay open-hearted and supportive of other GFA members and instructors’ practices from different schools. We hope the GFA Instructors to foster an atmosphere of community and acceptance.

From the GFA Board

The GFA will endeavour to provide its members and the general public valuable information that brings credibility to the GFA and its members.

It is assumed from the GFA that the Firewalking School that has trained the member and has accreditation from the GFA has a way to teach firewalking standards and discuss ethics. The GFA has no interest in competing with the schools by somehow overruling what the schools teach.

However, the GFA will provide information on logistics, business practices, ethical, psychological and spiritual considerations. But these are not to be seen as recommendations, but as inspiration that the members can use in any way they prefer.

A member can ask any kind of questions to the GFA through the “Contact us” option. The GFA will do our best to find someone to answer the question and connect the member with a legal adviser or media contact. However, the answer will not represent the views of the GFA, but only the individual answering the question. The member will be responsible for how he or she uses the advice/information.

The Global Firewalking Association’s Code of Conduct and Ethics is subject to change from time to time, and the current version will always be visible online to members of the public and available to members of the Association.

Overview

Our Association’s general principle is that we agree to be ‘good-natured’ in all our activities, graceful and respectful toward our peers, generous with our students and honest and balanced with information we share with the general public. You can expect us all to respect this principle, and in doing so, we all accept that membership is a privilege that we all benefit.

Blank (do not delete)
I INTRODUCTION AND PHILOSOPHY

I Introduction and Philosophy

a) The Global Firewalking Association (referred to throughout as the “Association”) recognises its obligation to set and uphold the highest standards of professionalism and to promote ethical behaviour and attitudes on the part of Firewalking Instructors by:

i being mindful of the need for protection of their clients, customers and the public;

ii expressing clear ethical principles, values and standards;

iii promoting such standards by education and consultation;

iv Communications that help Firewalking Instructors maintain professional behaviour and attitudes;

v assisting Firewalking Instructors with ethical decision making; and

vi providing opportunities for discourse on these issues.

b) The Association adopts this Code of Conduct and Ethics (referred to throughout as the “Code”), which is updated from time to time when appropriate. From monitoring complaints, evidence, ethical enquiries and feedback from its members, the Association will endeavour to provide its members and the general public the information required for members to both see and be seen in a fair and balanced way that brings credibility to the Association to its members and valuable information to the public.

c) This Code should guide all members of the Association. The ethical standards in Section IV provide guidance on the behaviour expected of members of the Association.

d) The Association has considered the wide range of contexts in which Firewalking Instructors work. The aim of the code is that it should apply to all Firewalking Instructors, with the focus on the quality of decision making. This would allow sufficient flexibility for a variety of approaches and methods, but provide ethical standards which apply to all. Firewalking Instructors will also need to familiarise themselves with the legal framework, regulatory requirements and other guidance relevant to the particular context in which they work.

e) In the Code the term ‘Firewalking Instructor’ refers to any member of the Global Firewalking Association including student members. Examples of the roles undertaken by Firewalking Instructors include (but are not limited to)those of firewalking instructor, Master Trainer, Executive Instructor, Firewalk Tender, Certifying Trainer, Grand Master, Emeritus Member or Ambassador.

II GENERAL APPROACH TO ETHICAL ISSUES
4

II General Approach to Ethical Issues

a) Consideration of ethics should pervade all professional activity of Firewalking Instructors. Ethics can be defined as the science of morals or rules of behaviour. Before embarking on a professional career as a Firewalking Instructor, the ethical implications should be considered as part of the work context together with legal, professional and other frameworks.

b) The majority of concerns about ethical matters relate to the communication of falsehoods, inaccurately stated credentials of competency or experience, offensive or harassing communications, disrespect for pioneers within the firewalking movement, disagreements or conflicts between Firewalking Instructors or faculties, inadequate standards of practice, and bringing the profession or the Association into disrepute.

c) These concerns may involve unethical behaviour, or lack of information, poor planning or carelessness. Reflective practice, peer support and transparency of professional activity should prevent problems occurring or developing into serious concerns.

d) Despite every care being taken, ethical difficulties will occur. The Association supports the following guiding principles for dealing with difficulties:

(i) Identify the relevant issues:

  • What are the parameters of the situation?
  • What dialogue can be engaged in to help the parties?
  • What peer support can be obtained to help resolve the issue
  • What elevation procedure can be adopted that is fair and reasonable and unbiased? Can both parties agree an unbiased approach?
  • What do peers advise?
  • Is there guidance available from the Association or other relevant bodies?<.lI>(ii) Use the Code to identify the principles involved.

(iii) Evaluate the rights, responsibilities and welfare of all clients and stakeholders and the duty of care to the community.

III STRUCTURE OF THE CODE

6

III Structure of the Code

a) The Code is based on five ethical principles. These are:

  • respect;
  • competence;
  • responsibility;
  • integrity & honesty; and
  • commitment to humanity

b) Each ethical principle is described in Section III with a statement of values, reflecting the fundamental beliefs that guide ethical reasoning, decision making, and behaviour.

c) Each ethical principle described is further supplemented by a set of standards, setting out the ethical conduct that the Association expects of its members.

Important Note:
The Association is NOT a policing organisation. Members accept that its only power in relation to possible serious breaches of the code is to seek facts and to do so in as timely a manner as possible. In the event of a serious misdemeanour, the sanctions that can be given by the Association are to either warn, reprimand, recommend further training, advise or potentially expel a member. In most matters, the Association will encourage members to discuss and resolve disputes between them.

IV ETHICAL PRINCIPLES: 1. RESPECT

7
IV Ethical principles
1. Ethical principle: RESPECT
Statement of values
Firewalking Instructors value the dignity and worth of all persons.
1.1 Standard of general respect.
Firewalking Instructors should:
(i) Respect individual, cultural and role differences, including (but not exclusively) those involving age, disability, education, ethnicity, gender, language, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, marital or family status and socio-economic status.
(ii) Respect the knowledge, insight, experience and expertise of clients, relevant third parties, members of the general public and peers.
(iii) Avoid practices that are unfair, prejudiced or biased.
(iv) Be willing to explain the basis for their ethical decision-making.
(v) Promptly bring to the attention of the Association any potential breaches of the code by other members
1.2 Standard of privacy and confidentiality.
Firewalking Instructors should:
(i) Keep appropriate records.
(ii) Normally obtain the consent of clients who are considered legally competent or otherwise their duly authorised representatives.
(iii) (a) Record, process and store information and data in a manner designed to avoid disclosure and in keeping with current legislation.
(b) Ensure from the first contact that clients are aware of the limitations of maintaining confidentiality, with specific reference to the possibility that other people attending or watching activities, including photographers, videographers, mobile phone camera users and the media, might capture their image.
(c) Allow participants to ‘opt-out’ of the storage of data pertaining to themselves.
(iv) Make audio, video or photographic recordings of clients only with the explicit permission of those who are considered legally competent, or their duly authorised representatives.
(v) Endeavour to ensure that colleagues, staff, trainees, and supervisees with whom Firewalking Instructors work understand and respect the provisions of the code concerning the handling of clients.

2. COMPETENCE

8
1.3 Standard of informed consent
Firewalking Instructors should:
i. Ensure that clients, particularly minors, are given ample opportunity to understand the nature, purpose, and anticipated consequences of any exercises, so that they may give informed consent to the extent that their capabilities allow.
Parental or guardianship consent for minors should always be obtained.
ii. Keep adequate records of when, how and from whom consent was obtained.
iii. Remain alert to the possibility that some people who purport to give consent may lack legal capacity to do so by virtue of their age or mental capacity. In this situation, Firewalking Instructors should use their professional judgement and keep appropriate records.
iv. Respect local cultural values and the privacy of persons who, even while in a public space, may believe they are unobserved.
v. Avoid intentional deception of clients at all times unless:
(a) deception is necessary in exceptional circumstances to preserve the integrity of the course topics or the efficacy of the course; and
(b) the nature of the deception is disclosed to clients at the earliest feasible
opportunity.
1.4 Standard of self-determination
Firewalking Instructors should:
(i) Support clients in understanding that they are the primary determining force that creates their results, and remain mindful of the psychological limits held by clients based on their experiences and upbringing
(ii) Ensure from the first contact that clients are aware of their right to withdraw at any time from the subject, the course, the section, or the exercise. Ensure that an appropriately trained person can deal with a person who withdraws at that time. Comply in an appropriate manner with requests by clients to withdraw, while expressing your commitment to their best interests at all times.
********************

2 Ethical Principle: COMPETENCE
Statement of values
Firewalking Instructors value the continuing development and maintenance of high standards of competence in their professional work, and the importance of preserving their ability to function optimally within the recognised limits of their knowledge, skill, training, education, and experience.
9
2.1 Standard of awareness of professional ethics
Firewalking Instructors should:
(i) Develop and maintain a comprehensive awareness of professional ethics, including familiarity with this code.
(ii) Integrate ethical considerations into their professional practices as an element of continuing professional development.
2.2 Standard of ethical decision making
Firewalking Instructors should:
(i) Recognise that ethical dilemmas may arise in the course of providing professional services.
(ii) Accept their responsibility to attempt to resolve such dilemmas with the appropriate combination of reflection and consultation.
(iii) Be committed to the requirements of this code.
(iv) Engage in a process of ethical decision making that includes:

  • identifying relevant issues;
  • reflecting upon established principles, values, and standards;
  • seeking peer review;
  • using the code to identify the principles involved;<.li>
        (v) Be able to justify their actions on ethical grounds.
        (vi) Remain aware that the process of ethical decision making must be undertaken with sensitivity to any time constraints that may exist for themselves and others.
        2.3 Standard of recognising limits of competence
        Firewalking Instructors should:
        i. Practise within the boundaries of their competence.
        ii. Engage in continuing professional development.
        iii. Remain abreast of scientific, ethical, and legal innovations connected to their professional activities, with further sensitivity to ongoing developments in the broader social, political and organisational contexts in which they work.
        iv. Seek consultation and supervision when indicated, particularly as circumstances begin to challenge their scientific or professional expertise.
        v. Teach or train in any areas of professional activity only after obtaining the knowledge, skill, training, education, and experience necessary for competent functioning.
      vi. Strive to ensure that those working under their direct supervision also comply with each of the requirements of this standard and that they are not required to work beyond the limits of their competence
3. RESPONSIBILITY

10
2.4 Standard of recognising impairment
Firewalking Instructors should:
i. Monitor their own personal and professional lifestyle in order to remain alert to signs of impairment.
ii. Seek professional consultation or assistance when they become aware of personal problems that may impair their own professional competence.
iii. Refrain from practice when their professional competence is seriously
impaired.
iv. Encourage colleagues whose personal problems may reflect impairment to seek professional consultation or assistance, and consider informing other
potential sources of intervention when such colleagues appear unable to recognise that a problem exists. Firewalking Instructors must inform potential sources of intervention where necessary for the protection of the public, the industry and the reputation of other Instructors.
********************
3 Ethical Principle: RESPONSIBILITY
Statement of Values
Firewalking Instructors value their responsibilities to clients, to the general public, and to the profession and study of firewalking, including the avoidance of harm and the prevention of misuse or abuse of their contributions to The Association.
3.1 Standard of general responsibility
Firewalking Instructors should:
(i) Avoid harming clients, but take into account that the interests of different clients may conflict. The Firewalking Instructor will need to weigh these interests and the potential harm caused by alternative courses of action or inaction.
(ii) Avoid personal and professional misconduct that might bring the Association or the reputation of the profession into disrepute, recognising that, in particular, convictions for criminal offences, malfeasance or personal attacks on fellow members that reflect on suitability for recognition as a leader may be regarded as misconduct by the Association.
(iii) Seek to remain aware of the professional activities of others with whom they work, with particular attention to the ethical behaviour of employees, assistants, supervisees and students.
(iv) Firewalking Instructors have a responsibility to be mindful of any potential risks to themselves as well as others.

4. INTEGRITY AND HONESTY

11
4 Ethical principle: INTEGRITY & HONESTY
Statement of values
Firewalking Instructors value honesty, accuracy, goodness, clarity and fairness in their interactions with all persons, and seek to promote integrity in all facets of their personal and professional endeavours.
4.1 Standard of honesty and accuracy
Firewalking Instructors should:
(i) Be honest and accurate in representing their professional affiliations and qualifications, including such matters as knowledge, skill, training, education, and experience.
(ii) Take reasonable steps to ensure that their qualifications and competencies are not misrepresented by others, and to correct any misrepresentations identified.
(iii) Be honest and accurate in conveying professional conclusions and opinions, and in acknowledging their potential limitations.
(iv) Claim only appropriate ownership or credit for their research, published writings, or other professional contributions, and provide due acknowledgement of the contributions of others to a collaborative work.
(v) Be honest and accurate in advertising their professional services and products, in order to avoid promoting unrealistic expectations or otherwise misleading the public.
4.2 Standard of avoiding conflicts of interest
Firewalking Instructors should:
(i) Seek to maintain professional objectivity and be mindful of avoiding conflicts of interest with clients or associates.
(ii) Refrain from abusing professional relationships in order to advance their personal, financial or other interests.
(iii) Recognise that conflicts of interest may exist after professional relationships are formally terminated, and that professional responsibilities and the code still apply.

4.3 Standard of Maintaining Personal Boundaries
Firewalking Instructors should:
(i) Be aware of the risks involved with engaging in any form of sexual or romantic relationship with persons to whom they are providing professional services, training or teaching, or to whom they owe a continuing duty of care, or with whom they have a relationship of trust. This could include a client or customer, student or trainee, or a staff/team member.

5. COMMITMENT TO HUMANITY

12
(ii) Refrain from engaging in harassment within or outside their organisation and strive to maintain their workplaces free from sexual or any form of harassment.
(iii) Recognise that harassment may consist of a single serious act or multiple persistent or pervasive acts, and that it further includes behaviour that ridicules, disparages, or abuses a person.
4.4 Standard of Addressing Ethical Misconduct
Firewalking Instructors should:
(i) Challenge colleagues or members who appear to have engaged in ethical misconduct and consider bringing allegations of such misconduct to the attention of the Association, particularly when members of the public appear to have been, or maybe, affected by the behaviour in question.
(ii) When bringing allegations of misconduct to the Association, do so without malice and with no breaches of confidentiality other than those necessary to the proper investigatory processes.
(iii) When bringing allegations of misconduct to the Association, to support such allegations with corroborative evidence.
********************
5 Ethical Principle: COMMITMENT TO HUMANITY
Statement of values
Firewalking has been practised for thousands of years as a spiritually uplifting experience led by people who are seeking to enhance the lives of those they meet. We expect our members to uphold this commitment to humanity.
Firewalking Instructors value their community, contributing to its development, seeking to help and empower and reveal the very best values in the persons with whom they come into contact. Firewalking Instructors live their message of goodness, care, forgiveness, charitable giving, kindness and empowerment. They accept their weaknesses, practise mindfulness and have an attitude of self-improvement and personal development that contributes to the greater good that firewalking instructors globally strive to provide.
5.1 Standard of commitment to humanity
Firewalking Instructors should:
(i) Be kind, caring and compassionate to all that they meet.
(ii) Contribute to the global firewalking community so it can become a recognised movement in the world in its aim to make positive changes.
(iii) Represent themselves as members of the Association, a body with high ideals with a commitment to help humanity through its members
(iv) Share their knowledge, wisdom and learned lessons during their lifetime to help others to do the same.
(v) Actively contribute to the development of the Association to improve standards of competency and ethics in the industry so that we serve humanity professionally and compassionately.
**************

V CONCLUSION

V CONCLUSION
The code provides the parameters within which professional judgements should be made. However, it cannot, and does not aim to, provide the answer to every ethical dilemma a Firewalking Instructor may face. It is important to remember to reflect and apply a process to resolve ethical dilemmas as set out in Section I of the Code.
The code aims to create a framework of ‘working principles’ that can be agreed upon as being beneficial as a general guide. This is subject to change, as members contribute, vote and help to develop it.
For many years, firewalking has inadvertently supported an element of unprofessional, untrained, unethical and ill-informed Instructors in their endeavours to run firewalks without the proper supervised training and education. We cannot change the past. But by being a part of the Association, and agreeing to adhere to the standards in the code, you will be helping yourself and other members to be outstanding in the community.
The Association intends that the code is fair and reasonable for all.
**************
The code may be updated and amended from time to time so that it represents the views of the members of the Association.
Please send comments and additions to: ethics@globalfirewalkingassociation.com
**************
At this time, we are not welcoming criticism, condemnation or complaints.
**************
This code was written by the Ethics Committee of the Global Firewalking Association. Thanks are due to all
the current and former members of the Committee.