Code of Ethics

IAEM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

The International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) is an international organization dedicated to promoting the goals of saving lives and protecting property by mitigating, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters/emergencies. IAEM sponsors the Associate Emergency Manager (AEM) and Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) Program to maintain professionalism through the certification process.

The Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct must be embraced and upheld by all individuals who are IAEM members, participants in any event hosted by IAEM or on behalf of IAEM, or awarded the AEM/CEM designation. The promise to uphold the Code signifies the assumption that the emergency manager will act prudently and responsibly beyond the requirements of law and codes. The Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct embodies the certification program philosophy and objectives. Each AEM/CEM promises to adhere to the Code.


IAEM has a Code of Professional Conduct that seeks to address a range of issues that impact the emergency management professional on their day-to-day work. Maintenance of public trust and confidence is central to the effectiveness of the Emergency Management Profession. This Code aims to ensure and justify public trust and confidence in the services provided by members of the International Associations of Emergency Managers (IAEM).


It seeks to ensure that high levels of competence and professional conduct are maintained. The members of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) adhere to the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct. The Code of Professional Conduct for the IAEM members and AEMs/CEMs (whether or not they are IAEM members) reflects the spirit and proper conduct dictated by the conscience of society and commitment to the well-being of all.


The members of the Association agree to conduct themselves in accordance with the basic principles of RESPECTCOMMITMENT, and PROFESSIONALISM.


Respect for supervising officials, colleagues, associates, and most importantly, for the people we serve is the standard for IAEM members. We comply with all laws and regulations applicable to our purpose and position, and responsibly and impartially apply them to all concerned. We respect fiscal resources by evaluating organizational decisions to provide the best service or product at a minimal cost without sacrificing quality.


IAEM members commit themselves to promoting decisions that engender trust and those we serve. We commit to continuous improvement by fairly administering the affairs of our positions, by fostering honest and trustworthy relationships, and by striving for impeccable accuracy and clarity in what we say or write. We commit to enhancing stewardship of resources and the caliber of service we deliver while striving to improve the quality of life in the community we serve.

IAEM is an organization that actively promotes professionalism to ensure public confidence in Emergency Management. Our reputations are built on the faithful discharge of our duties. Our professionalism is founded on Education, Safety and Protection of Life and Property.


  1. Quality: Members shall aim to maintain high quality work at all times and apply the Principles of Emergency Management in their professional undertakings. Quality may be assessed by audits, monitoring, quality processes, or other appropriate means.
  2. Professional Independence: IAEM Members, however employed, owe a primary loyalty to the people in the community they serve and the environment they affect. Their practice should be performed according to high standards and ethical principles, maintaining respect for human dignity. Emergency management practitioners shall seek to ensure professional independence in the execution of their functions. The term professional independence relates to the function of the practitioners within the organization in which they practice. Their role may be advisory or executive.
  3. Legal Requirements: Members must abide by the legal requirements relating to their practice, and practitioners have a duty to make themselves aware of the appropriate legal requirements for the territory in which they practice.
  4. Objectivity: Members called to give an opinion in their professional capacity shall be honest and, to the best of their ability, objective and reliable. Objectivity and reliability is based on the best current available knowledge, or in the absence of such knowledge, reference to appropriate emergency planning and management principles.
  5. Competence: Members shall not undertake responsibilities as emergency management practitioners if they do not believe themselves competent to discharge them. Members shall acknowledge any limitations in their own competence. In pursuit of this members shall take all reasonable steps to obtain, maintain and develop their professional competence by attention to new developments and shall encourage others working under their supervision to do so. Competence is defined as ‘the possession of sufficient knowledge, experience and skill to enable a person to know what he or she is doing and to be able to carry out a task in the way in which a person competent in the activity would expect it to be done and to have an appreciation of one’s own limitations’. Competence is maintained by undertaking continuing professional development and certification (CEM®) and may be supplemented at appropriate levels by membership of other specialist bodies.
  6. Abuse of Membership: Members shall not improperly use their membership of IAEM for commercial or personal gain.
  7. Conflict of Interest: Members shall avoid their professional judgment being influenced by any conflict of interest and shall inform their employer, or client, of any conflict between their own personal interest and service to the relevant party. For example, a consultant may be aware that his/her recommendations are not being implemented, but continues to advise the organization in order to avoid losing the revenue associated with the contract. The members, officers and agents of the Association shall act in the best interest of the Association at all times and shall avoid activities resulting in actual or implied personal gain in keeping with the highest standards of ethics and professionalism.
  8. Confidentiality: Members shall not improperly disclose any information which may reasonably be considered to be prejudicial to the business of any present or past employer or client.
  9. Professional Responsibility: Members shall accept professional responsibility for all their work and shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that persons working under their authority or supervision are competent to carry out the tasks assigned to them; are treated with fairness and equal opportunity; and accept responsibility for the work done on the authority delegated by them. Where members have good reason to believe that their professional advice is not being followed, they shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that persons overruling or neglecting their advice are made aware of the potential adverse consequences which may result. In such instances it is advisable that such actions are recorded in writing.
  10. Upholding the Aims and Objectives: Members shall have regard to the reputation and good standing of The Society, other members’ professional practice and standards, and shall not knowingly bring them into disrepute. Disrepute amounts to the loss of a previously good reputation. It may arise from the conduct of a member who by act or omission lowers the professional reputation of The Association and its members in the view of right-thinking members of The Association generally. At all times members shall seek to uphold the bylaws and APPs of the IAEM.
  11. Professional Reputation: Members shall not in the course of their practice recklessly or maliciously injure, or attempt to injure, whether directly or indirectly, the professional reputation, prospects or business of another.
  12. Members Relations Inter Se: Members shall at all times treat other members of the Association with the utmost respect and fairness, and at no time undermine their integrity and dignity. Members will at all times seek to work in a cooperative and productive way with each other. Elected representatives have a particular responsibility in this regard; to ensure that all members and their views are heard, valued, and respected.
  13. Financial Propriety: Members shall maintain financial propriety in all their professional dealings with employers and clients. Any inducements which may be seen as prejudicial to professional independence or in breach of contractual or moral obligations should be discouraged.
  14. IAEM Code of Conduct: All participants of IAEM, including those holding IAEM certifications, are expected to at all times while participating in IAEM events, conferences, conventions, virtual programs, webinars, or other activities treat their fellow members and professionals within the emergency management community with the utmost dignity and respect and to adhere to the policies of IAEM as adopted by its Board of Directors from time to time, including, but not limited to the IAEM Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy.

From IAEM-Global Administrative Policies & Procedures

Approved Jan. 31, 2020

AEM® and CEM® are registered trademarks of the International Association of Emergency Managers.