I'll start out with a little bit of background about my department and how this came about. I work in a combination department. I am 1 of 11 paid firefighters and we have 7 stations and an EMA building. we work 9 hour shifts(4 stations are 0700-1600, 1600-0100, and 3 stations are 0800-1700; all Mon-Fri) 1 paid person on shift at a time.All the rest of the county coverage is volunteer. A few years back a volunteer chief took the weed whacker home for personal use and when confronted about it lied and got caught and dismissed from the department. So the chief of the department had camera's installed in this single station(6 cameras all in the station and bays, none outside). I completely agree with this as a way to help prevent theft. So the issue's that i have with this is at the current moment are these: 1) there's no sign's at the station stating that the premisses is under surveillance, 2) at the moment only 3 camera work. 1 in the bay and the 2 inside the living area/office of the station, and 3) the chiefs can all pull up the feed at anytime and watch us at the station during the day. I personally have only had this happen that i know of once because a volunteer was at the station and i got a phone call from one of the chiefs telling me to inform the volunteer to sit the recliner up and to do something while at work. My question is what is your feelings on having every move you make watched through out your shift and with technology that they preach is only for security from theft, do you think that it is being abused?
My feelings is that certain areas inside and out should have security cameras to prevent break-ins or thefts from personnel items to fire dept equipment. We have had people being chased with guns on the property and in the station. We have a activity hall which had glass doors damaged so someone could break into a candy machine. Personel vehicles have been stolen from the parking lot. Even had a dead shooting victim dropped on our ramp.
Good or bad, right or wrong, why only the one station?
I'm all in favour of monitoring access points and vulnerable areas but if your going to do it, do it across the board, at every station.
It never makes for good working relations if you feel you are not trusted, being spied on, so recreation areas should be no-go for "real time viewing" cameras, maybe record-only cameras that can be reviewed in cases of dispute might be acceptable if there are a lot of concerns about behaviour.
Most certainly there should be prominent signage informing anyone that there are cameras in use, that alone can be a deterrent against abuse.
My question is what is your feelings on having every move you make watched through out your shift and with technology that they preach is only for security from theft, do you think that it is being abused?
Don't agree with it at all. If the notion to install the cameras was to watch for theft, then watching crews at any time is thus abusing the intention of the system. If the issue is to micromanage, then there are more issues than theft at hand. The flip side is since a fire station is considered a public building such devices can be placed as long as it isn't the dorm/sleeping quarters or bathroom. However, there is no need for cameras inside a station unless there is a micromanaging issue and if so, it is not a dept I would want to work for.
I agree with the other posts. If you have cameras covering the access points for theft, I think that is a good idea. If there is theft inside the station, maybe using a temporary camera set up is ok until that theft can be stopped. NEVER should the cameras be used to tell a firefighter to get to work, or to be used for anything except checking the recordings when a theft occurs. I have read some articles when people have used cameras in stations to stop firefigters from stealing from the house fund or other people. They could be helpful then. To have them permanently installed... don't agree with that.
Some states you need to have posted that CCTV is being used but I don't know about all where or if a public-city building falls into that.
I think there should definitely be signs posted about the cameras that are in use. I don't think there should be cameras in the living area. I feel that is a slight invasion of privacy. That is where you would go to relax, not be watched 24/7. I understand the cameras being near the equipment rooms, outside access points and the parking lots,if there has been issues before, but living areas should be off limits. Seems like the camera use in this situation is being abused. Especially with the phone call. If it were just a little joke one time, then ok, but if it is an on-going issue, then something needs to give. No one should have to be on their tippie toes walking around the firehouse.
That chief went over board. The camera are for security use only only, if he saw something that apply to personnel (with the exception of security stuff) he should have got off of his duff and go to that person and told him himself.
Having camera in the station is ok if they don't get abused.
As far as signs it is required to have signs on the exterior doors in all states. You would have to check with your governing body to make sure where or how to pe posted.
I feel the cameras outside are not a bad thing especially if you are in a high crime area. I personally do not like the idea of camers in the station any place although I would reluctantly accept them on the apperatus floor. Cameras in the living quarters are, in my opinion completely wrong and possible illegal as there is a "normal expectation of privacy" in these areas. The office area, although I personally do not like it, may be a bit different as it could be considered a public area without the "normal expectaion of privacy." If the personel are so non-trustworthy, perhaps it is time to get new personel, or maybe less paranoid chiefs.
There appears to be disconnect and misunderstanding of the intended use. Monitoring for theft or security is one issue, but to monitor and watch staff/vols and issuing orders over the phone is a total other issue.
What if you have to pay for the cable bills? What if you have a camera to watch the TVs to see what the the crew is ordering to watch while on duty? Or use of the computers.
When you say "ordering" I'm guessing you mean pay per view?? If so any parental lock can be put in to prevent anyone from using such feature.
As for watching cable, it may depend on who pays the bills, but many times it is an association, or welfare aspect that pays for this, vs the dept. In our case the cable and wireless for each station is paid for by the union's welfare fund, the city pays absolutely nothing for the service.
There are dept computers in the station and internet is very limited on those due to city blocks etc. So there are ways that issues can be addressed and content limited without resorting to big brother watching the station with a video feed.
So who watches the Gestapo/KGB while there watching the firemen?
Sad very sad, it's one thing to put cameras on the parking lot or outside doors
It's a whole diffrent thing when there in the firehouse. Shows a great level of distrust on the
part of the administration.
As a tax payer & a vetran I would be very irate! If I found out that
this was happening to the fire dept. where I live. I'd be at every public meeting along
with every fireman & there families to let them know exactly how we felt.