Code of Ethics

IAEM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

All Each IAEM member in good standing has a continuing duty to adhere to the principles and tenets of the IAEM Code of Professional Conduct. This obligation of IAEM membership extends to all members participating in IAEM business, activities, and/or events, as well as to all individuals, regardless of membership status, who have been awarded the AEM® or CEM® professional certification issued by IAEM. The duty to adhere to the Code mandates that the emergency manager will act prudently and responsibly beyond the requirements of law and codes.  The Code of Professional Conduct further embodies the certification program philosophy and objectives. 


The IAEM Code of Professional Conduct seeks to address a range of issues that impact  emergency management professionals in 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.


The members of IAEM-USA shall conduct themselves in accordance with the basic principles of RESPECT, COMMITMENT, and PROFESSIONALISM.



Respect for supervising officials, professional colleagues, associates, and the people we serve through compliance with the laws, regulations and recognized



IAEM-USA members commit themselves to promote decisions that engender trust among those we serve.  We commit to continuous improvement by fairly administering the affairs and responsibilities 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-USA 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 as professionals.  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-USA members, however employed, owe a primary duty of 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 in nature.
  3. Legal Requirements: Members must abide by the legal and regulatory requirements relating to their practice, and practitioners have a duty to make themselves aware of the applicable legal and regulatory requirements for the communities 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 are 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 reasonably believe themselves competent to discharge them efficiently and effectively.  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 “(t)he 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 such as (AEM®/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 in the IAEM-USA for commercial or personal gain.
  7. Conflict of Interest: Members shall avoid their professional judgment being influenced by any conflicting interest and shall inform their employer, or client, of any real or potential conflict between their own personal interest and their service and professional obligations 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 IAEM-USA shall act in the best interest of the organization 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 or without prior written authority disclose or disseminate any information, data or documents that may reasonably be considered to be confidential or proprietary to IAEM, its officers, directors or other members or which may be prejudicial, confidential or proprietary to the business of any present or past employer or client of an IAEM member.  The duty to maintain the confidentiality of such information, data or documents is also of critical importance  within the business of many of IAEM-USA’s groups, including, but not limited to the Board of Directors, Executive Committee, standing committees, caucuses, ad hoc committees, commissions.  The business of and discussions conducted in such IAEM-USA group meetings should be treated as strictly confidential, only being shared with non-participants upon the completion of any action taken and the written approval of the group to such disclosure.  Confidential information, data and documentation of IAEM and its various groups should be communicated to outside parties only by IAEM staff or other authorized IAEM officials. 
  9. Professional Responsibility: Members shall accept professional responsibility for their work and shall take 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 under 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 that 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 for the reputation and good standing of the IAEM-USA and other members’ professional practice and integrity and shall not knowingly or recklessly bring them into disrepute.
  11. Professional Reputation: Members shall not in the course of their practice intentionally, recklessly, or maliciously injure or damage, or attempt to injure or damage, whether directly or indirectly, the professional reputation, prospects, or business of another member of the IAEM-USA or the Association.
  12. Members Relations Inter Se: Members shall at all times treat other members of the IAEM and the IAEM-USA with the  respect, professionalism and fairness, and at no time undermine their integrity, reputation, and dignity.  Members will at all times seek to work with one another in a professional, cooperative, and productive way.
  13. Financial Propriety: Members shall maintain financial propriety in all their professional dealings with employers and clients.  Any inducements which may reasonably be seen as prejudicial to a member’s professional independence, or which are in breach of contractual or moral obligation(s) should be avoided.
  14. IAEM Code of Conduct:All participants of the IAEM, including those holding the IAEM certifications, are expected to at all times while participating in the 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.

Complaint Procedure

Individuals who believe they have been the victims of conduct prohibited by this policy or reasonably believe they have witnessed such conduct should submit their concerns in writing to info@iaem.com and be marked to the attention of the IAEM-USA Executive Director or in the alternative, the Assistant Executive Director. The Complainant shall specify in the complaint whether they want the opportunity to present the complaint at a telephone or video hearing before the IAEM-USA assigned hearing panel.


The process is:

  • Upon receipt, the complaint shall be reviewed for completeness and to ensure that it states a valid and good faith claim under the Code of Professional Conduct, IAEM-USA Bylaws, or other IAEM-USA Board-approved policy.
  • The IAEM Executive Director or designee shall confirm receipt and acceptance of the complaint to the Complainant and provide a complete copy of the same, along with submitted supporting documents to the party against whom the complaint is directed (Respondent). 
  • The Respondent will be provided with thirty (30) days from the date of the written notice to submit to the IAEM-USA Headquarters, 201 Park Washington Court, Falls Church, VA, 22046 or to info@iaem.com to the attention of the Executive Director or Assistant Executive Director, a detailed written response to the complaint.
  • Upon receipt of the Respondent’s written response to the complaint, the IAEM-USA Executive Director or designee will promptly forward both the complaint and the response and all submitted supporting documentation to a hearing panel selected by the IAEM-USA President. 
    • If either party requests a hearing on the matter, the hearing will be scheduled within sixty (60) days of the receipt of the Respondent’s answer to the complaint,
  • Upon conclusion of the hearing, the assigned panel members shall  convene to determine whether a violation of the Code of Professional Conduct or the IAEM-USA Bylaws or other IAEM-USA Board-adopted policy as stated in the complaint, has occurred. 
    • Within thirty (30) days of the conclusion of the hearing; or
    • If no hearing was requested, within sixty (60) days of the panel’s receipt of the complaint, response and supporting materials.
  • The panel’s decision shall be issued in writing to the IAEM-USA Executive Director or designee to be promptly communicated to the parties.
  • In the event that the assigned hearing panel finds that a violation has occurred, it shall include as part of its written finding a recommendation only as to the nature of the discipline it reasonably deems may be appropriate in light of the allegations and panel findings. 
    • Within ten (10) days of issuance of the hearing panel’s findings and recommendation(s), a complete copy of the same shall be provided to the IAEM-USA Board of Directors for its consideration and final decision.

Please refer to the IAEM-USA APPs, starting on page 20 for further details.

From IAEM-USA Administrative Policies & Procedures

Approved June 20, 2023

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