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BEECN Volunteer Code of Conduct

Portland Basic Earthquake Emergency Communications Node Program Code of Conduct
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In a disaster, it is quite common for people to come together for help and comfort. The Basic Earthquake Emergency Communications Node (BEECN) Program prepares neighborhoods for self-sufficiency during a disaster by providing individuals with information and training related to emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. By preparing in advance, trained BEECN members are able to help themselves, and their families, friends, and neighbors recover as quickly as possible after a disaster.

In order to accomplish their mission, volunteers in the BEECN program must be committed to the values of personal responsibility, respect, and safety embodied in this BEECN Code of Conduct.

Personal Responsibility

  • When an emergency occurs, my first responsibility is to ensure my own safety and the safety of my family.
  • I must be officially deployed and assigned to work in an official capacity by the BEECN Program Coordinator or designee.
  • If a large-scale event has caused a communications failure, I will follow the Standard Operating Procedure for BEECN activation.
  • I understand that BEECN ID cards, vests, and hard hats shall only be worn during official BEECN activities which include, but are not limited to, activations, trainings, meetings, and special events.
  • When responding to a disaster as a BEECN member, I will stay within the scope of the training received under the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management BEECN curriculum.
  • I will conduct myself in a manner to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Conduct that could appear dishonest to a reasonable observer will undermine the BEECN program’s credibility even if the conduct is not illegal.
  • I will not represent myself in a capacity that exceeds my status in the BEECN program. Unless approved by the Director of the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM), I will not use or authorize the use of the name, emblem, endorsement, services or property of the BEECN program for the purpose of obtaining a benefit or advantage for any person or organization, including the BEECN program.
  • I will not contact organizations or individuals to solicit funds on behalf of the BEECN program unless I have been given permission by an authorized member of the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM) staff.
  • I will keep my BEECN team leader and BEECN Program Coordinator informed of progress, concerns and problems with assigned tasks. I will accept feedback from BEECN team leaders and City staff in order to do the best job possible.


  • I will treat fellow BEECN members, team leaders, City employees and individuals I serve with dignity, respect and courtesy.
  • I will take steps to quell profane, abusive, demeaning, belittling or harassing interactions or communications with others. I will not engage in destructive or demoralizing criticism about individual BEECN Program members or PBEM in public forums and on the Internet including social media.
  • I will confer with and obtain the consent of the BEECN Program Coordinator prior to making public statements about the BEECN program or BEECN members or engaging in lobbying efforts on behalf of the BEECN program. I will direct anyone who is looking for official statements concerning the BEECN program to the BEECN Coordinator.
  • BEECN members have access to non-public information which is sensitive, private, personal, or confidential. The disclosure of some kinds of personal information is strictly prohibited by law, such as a person's name in combination with a social security number. Other information is considered private, such as the contact information of a fellow volunteer, or confidential, such as public safety plans (including BEECN cache locations). I will safeguard all such information from improper disclosure.
  • I will make a personal commitment to be nonjudgmental about cultural differences and refrain from engaging in conversations about my political, cultural or religious beliefs.


  • I will not participate in BEECN activities while I am under the influence of intoxicants and will not use or possess intoxicants while attending BEECN activities. BEECN activities include but are not limited to activations, trainings, meetings and special events.
  • I will not bring guns, knives, sticks or other weapons to BEECN activities even if my possession of them would not be unlawful. (Lock blade pocket knives or fixed blade knives under 6” may be carried). BEECN activities include but are not limited to activations, trainings, meetings and special events.
  • During my service in BEECN, I will immediately notify the BEECN Program Coordinator if I am convicted of any crimes or subject to an active restraining order. I will engage only in activities that are consistent with my physical capabilities and will not take risks that could cause injury to myself or others.
  • In return for my compliance with the BEECN code of conduct, I can expect to:
    • Be treated with respect and courtesy by all BEECN members, BEECN team leaders, the BEECN Program Coordinator and other PBEM staff
    • Be provided with a safe atmosphere in which to volunteer
    • Be provided with necessary training opportunities
    • Be provided support, guidance and assistance in order to promote and advance the BEECN program and community resiliency
    • Be appreciated for your contributions to the BEECN program and the PBEM

I understand that failure on my part to comply with any program rules, procedures and guidance documents or disclose information on the background check forms could result in the termination of my volunteer service as a BEECN member.

I further understand that if I am removed from service, it is my responsibility to return all issued equipment and materials that I have received from the BEECN program. If I fail or refuse to return the equipment or materials, I agree to pay the cost to replace any items not returned. Finally, I understand that as a City of Portland volunteer, I am also responsible for abiding by the City's Code of Ethics when representing the BEECN program.

Understanding the Code of Conduct

The purpose of the Code of Conduct is to build trust, accountability and professionalism to the BEECN program by establishing ground rules for behavior. The Portland Bureau of Emergency Management Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET) has a similar code of conduct for volunteers.

After you complete the background check forms, they will be sent directly to the Portland Police Bureau. PBEM does not make copies of the forms or see the information reviewed by PPB. However, if a BEECN volunteer fails his or her background check, the PBEM Bureau Director and BEECN Coordinator will review the documentation and make a final decision as to the individual’s volunteer status. The only information entered into the BEECN volunteer database will be the date the BEECN volunteer passed/failed the background check. Only authorized PBEM staff will have access to the BEECN volunteer database. Other City of Portland employees, volunteers and contractors will not have access to the database.

All current BEECN volunteers will be asked to show their interest and commitment to the BEECN program – this will entail signing the Code of Conduct, passing a background check (no cost to you) and completing the BEECN training. All BEECN participants who complete these steps will be issued a BEECN ID card. This requirement will ensure PBEM knows the actual number of committed BEECN members who are willing to deploy as a team to support the City of Portland during emergencies and planned events. In turn this allows PBEM to efficiently invest resources towards the BEECN program.

BEECN members are encouraged to give informal presentations and provide general information about the BEECN program. The Code of Conduct does not prohibit you from talking to the media. However, The Code of Conduct requires you to confer with and obtain PBEM’s consent prior to making statements on behalf of the BEECN program.  If you are representing yourself as a BEECN volunteer at an official function – such as a Fix-it-Fair – we would like to know in advance. We do this so that we can promote and document these efforts. This information is especially helpful to us when we get asked questions about public outreach.

Also, when BEECN members represent themselves in their official capacity they are acting as volunteer representatives of BEECN. We therefore have a compelling need to know when BEECN volunteers are representing themselves in their official capacity and what comments they are making on behalf of the program.  The Code of Conduct attempts to curb unauthorized lobbying on behalf of the BEECN program.

The Code of Conduct requires prior authorization on the use of the BEECN name, services, etc. for the purpose of obtaining a benefit or advantage for any person or organization, including the BEECN program. The terms are intended to mean financial benefit or other gain / advantage such as preferential treatment.

The Code of Conduct makes specific reference to "weapon" as an item intended to cause injury or damage. While a pry bar or crowbar could be used as a weapon, we define these items as tools. The inclusion of language permitting locked or fixed blade knives less than six inches acknowledges that many people regularly carry utility knives. Firearms are not allowed at any BEECN activity – even if your possession of them is not unlawful. However, pepper spray IS considered a weapon for participation in our program. 

The decision to deploy following a disaster is a volunteer’s own, and a volunteer may never be coerced into deploying. A volunteer who chooses not to deploy will not be subject to any consequences related to his or her standing in the BEECN program. During the course of any deployment or exercise, BEECN volunteers must ensure that all chosen actions conform to the following guiding principles:

  • Safety is always the top priority.
  • Use the buddy system and always work in pairs. It takes at least two volunteers to relay radio traffic to/from the fire station.
  • If you see something unsafe, say so. Everyone has permission to say, “That does not seem safe” or “I do not feel safe.”
  • If someone points out an unsafe condition, stop and correct it right away.