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P1. Alcohol and Substance Abuse and Testing


To follow state and federal laws consistent with our commitment to the well-being of our members we serve by maintaining a safe work environment.


Gloucester Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad, Inc (further called GVFRS) will not tolerate employees or volunteers working under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs or those who use alcohol or illegal drugs (or misuse legal drugs) while working, volunteering or while representing the Company.


  1. Definition of Terms
    • Legal Drug: A prescribed drug or over-the-counter drug that has been legally obtained and is being used for the purpose for which it was prescribed or manufactured.
    • Illegal Drug: Any drug which cannot be legally obtained (e.g. marijuana, hallucinogens, etc.) or which, although legal:
      • Has been illegally obtained or prescribed
      • Is not being used for its prescribed purposes
      • Is being used in larger doses than recommended
    • Premises: Used in its broadest sense, it includes all land (including leaseholds, easements, and other job sites), property, buildings and other structures, vehicles owned by GVFRS.
    • Reasonable Suspicion: Aberrant or unusual behavior of personnel who exhibit any of the following:
      Symptoms that are commonly associated with intoxication or impairment caused by illegal drugs or alcohol.
      Behaving in a manner that is not reasonably explained as resulting from causes other than the use of controlled substances.
      Observed using or in the possession of illegal drugs or alcohol. All such observations must be made by a supervisor or officer, and must be documented in writing by the observer(s).
    • Prohibited Acts
      • The use or possession of alcohol or illegal drugs on the premises, or being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs while performing Company duties or representing GVFRS is prohibited at all times.
      • Employees and volunteers of GVFRS should be aware that the use of some prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs might also affect their ability to properly perform their job duties. Therefore, employees and volunteers have the responsibility to report such use of legal drugs that may have side-effects to officers when they are aware of potentially adverse effects on performance or on the safe operation of GVFRS equipment.
      • GVFRS, employees and volunteers may continue to work even though you may be taking a legal drug (such as over the counter cold medications), as long as such use does not pose a threat to your safety or the safety of other personnel and you can safely perform the duties of your position.
      • Depending upon the severity of the situation, employees and volunteers who violate this policy may be offered the opportunity for appropriate treatment and rehabilitation, which may be available through health insurance coverage or an appropriate treatment source of the member’s choice. Referral for assistance does not preclude corrective discipline for violation of rules or policies. GVFRS employees and/or volunteers failing or refusing appropriate treatment or testing shall be subject to corrective discipline up to and including termination. Failure to successfully complete the program or intentional violations of the program will result in termination of employment or membership.
  2. Drug Testing
    • This policy, regulating the use, possession, and testing for presence of alcohol and drugs shall be administered fairly and consistently to all employees and volunteers of GVFRS.
    • Routine testing of staff may occur:
      • GVFRS employees and volunteers may be required to submit to drug testing under the following circumstances:
        • When state or federal regulations require such testing.
        • When GVFRS Board of Directors has reasonable suspicion of on-the-job impairment or intoxication in accordance with this Policy.
        • When a staff member has been referred to treatment for alcohol and/or drug abuse, in which event the employee or volunteer shall be subject to random testing for one (1) year after he or she has returned to work/duty. Employees and volunteers will also be required to furnish the GVFRS Board with a copy of the treatment facility’s prescribed after care program and proper verification of the staff member’s compliance with the aftercare program or revisions thereto.
      • GVFRS employees and volunteers required to submit to drug testing under these policies shall be informed of the reason for such testing. In the case of “reasonable suspicion” testing, the employee/member will be given a copy of the written order from the GVFRS board member, including documentation of the specific objective facts constituting “reasonable suspicion” in accordance with policy. The employee/member will be requested to sign an acknowledgment that testing has been requested and that he or she consents to such testing.
      • Employees/volunteers who refuse to sign a requested testing agreement or who refuse to submit to testing after signing the agreement shall be immediately suspended, and an investigation shall occur to determine whether the refusal was reasonable. If the refusal is found to be unreasonable, it will be treated as an intentional violation of this policy, and may lead to discipline, up to and including termination.
      • Testing procedures shall conform to accepted practices, the GVFRS Board may utilize an outside or contracted person or organization for this purpose.
    • Test results shall be communicated to the GVFRS Board as soon as possible upon receipt of the results from the testing facility. Further:
      • Copies of all documents including test results, computer printouts, graphs, interpretations and chain of custody forms shall be given to the GVFRS Board
      • Any employee/volunteer who, as a result of testing is found to have alcohol or illegal drugs, to include marijuana, in his or her system will be deemed to have used the prohibited substance while working, volunteering or while representing GVFRS and will be considered in violation of this policy
      • All records and information obtained by the GVFRS Board regarding drug testing, requests for testing, the test results, and treatment of employee/volunteers for chemical dependency will be confidentially maintained by the Company, as fully as possible, and be used in accordance with the law. Test results may need to be shared with designated management personnel, or others on a “need to know” basis only.

Change Log:

June 1, 2024 – Published to website