When activated into Federal service you are a Federal employee representing the United States Government. Your conduct while on active duty should always be professional and with the best interest of the United States in mind. As a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) employee, you must be familiar with and adhere to the HHS Standards of Conduct outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations, 45 C.F.R. Part 73. Below are suggested guidelines for the conduct of a Federalized disaster Team member.


Violation of the Code of Conduct may result in removal from the disaster site and temporary or permanent suspension from the team. Each case of misconduct will be handled by the Team Leader, or forwarded to the NDMS Headquarters for appropriate action.


1.      Insubordination will not be tolerated.

2.      The chain of command will be adhered to. Criticisms, complaints, concerns, and grievances shall be channeled up the chain of command.

3.      Command staff communication with NDMS should be limited to problems/issues that cannot be resolved by the team. Team member communication with NDMS is discouraged except when requested by NDMS.  Team members should  contact the Administrative Officer or the Team Leader with questions and/or concerns.

4.      Any article written by a Team Leader or Team member for publication, or any personal news release regarding an official deployment or the activities of a Team must be approved by NDMS.

5.      Discussion with any media source during activation is prohibited unless authorized by the Management Support Team (MST) Commander.

6.      Any Team Leader or Team Member who willfully takes unauthorized photographs, audio, or videotapes at a disaster site will be removed from the disaster site and his or her actions will be considered grounds for permanent removal from the team.

7.      Failure to report for duty when and where you agreed without legitimate excuse is considered misconduct.

8.      Entering into unauthorized contracts for goods or services in the name of the Team, NDMS, or U.S. Government is strictly prohibited.

9.      Unprofessional conduct such as disrespect regarding the injured, dead, their personal effects, or families will not be tolerated and shall be considered gross misconduct.

10.  Acceptance of any bribe of money, goods, or services in exchange for information is prohibited.

11.  Gambling or any gaming for money between Team Leaders or Team members is not allowed during disaster activation.

12.  Team uniforms shall not be worn into bars, taverns or other establishments in which a bad reflection would be made on the Team or NDMS.

13.  The use of any illegal drug or abuse of any prescription medication at any time while on activation is strictly prohibited. Violation of this is considered gross misconduct and grounds for permanent removal from the team.

14.  Consumption of alcoholic beverages while on duty is prohibited. Driving or operation of government equipment or equipment issued to the government while under the influence of alcohol is prohibited and shall be regulated by local laws.

15.  Local government laws and ordinances will be respected. Being Federalized does not allow Team personnel to ignore local laws. In the event a Team member is incarcerated, he or she shall be on his or her own and shall face prosecution according to local laws.

16.  Inappropriate, foul, or profane language is not allowed.

17.  Sexual harassment will not be tolerated.

18.  The use of personal AM/FM radios, CD, or cassette players in a “controlled area” is not allowed unless approved by the Team Leader.

19.  Hazing, pinning, initiation, public or private intimidation or humiliation, ceremonies or ritual events directed against any Team member is strictly prohibited.

20.  Team Leaders and Team members are responsible for their actions and activities during off-hours and are responsible for reporting to their disaster work assignment at the time and place scheduled. Tardiness due to social activities will be considered misconduct.

21.  During activation periods, Team Leaders and Team members shall utilize the “Buddy System” and shall not leave the area unless accompanied by another Team member and/or they shall inform their supervisor of their destination and approximate time of return.



NOTE: NDMS will pursue ALL legal avenues available and will take appropriate disciplinary action concerning violation of the HHS Standards of Conduct or the NDMS Disaster Team Code of Conduct. Compliance with the code is expected by all members.