A firefighter can now be fired for even possessing the camera on duty, and the Captain is responsible for ensuring compliance.
There are those who consider this to be censorship and a first amendment violation. Others are applauding this rule to limit the liability of a department when the feces strikes the rotary oscillator.
My department, while not prohibiting the camera, has instituted a rule prohibiting the posting of incident images on-line, and also the posting of call information, comments about another member/employee on sites such as Facebook.
I know of a neighboring department that has "Official" photo/videographers who's sole function on the fireground is taping and otherwise capturing the incident. I only know of a couple of videos which were put on the net, and those were sanctioned by the administration. While not inside the actual event, (although I have seen training burns) they do use the images for training, in presentations, and at awards dinners.
If they are used right, cameras can be extremely effective in providing the public a glimpse of what it is we do, or to correct a potential problem from causing injury or a loss of life. But as one who has tried the helmet cam, I do not have an issue with prohibiting their use or possession.
We as a team need to be concentrating on the job we have and to be prepared to act when things go south. A proactive department have a policy in place to prevent the horse from getting out, instead of closing the barn door afterward.
I have championed information sharing for many years. We would bundle everything up in a big old manila envelope and ship it off or we would receive one in the same way.
Phone calls. Seminars and hours of notes taking.
Wow; sharing information is so much easier, but the information that is shared has to be shared with the proper permissions and endorsements.
Anything too graphic or could lead to the identity of those in the shots should NOT be posted without signed permissions for those in the pictures or videos.
There is much to be learned, but I don't want it to be how much it takes to repulse even us!
But, yes; we would be missing the boat otherwise.
The person who takes photos for our fire department is not actively engaged in any scene activities, other than to memorialize the incident.
And I would be so inclined if we have someone video-taping. Their sole responsibility would be only that; no other duties.
Let's face it; I have received an envelope of photos from the general public and someone who take more and better pictures than I did.
There is no escaping it.
Who has the rules for posting department pictures and videos?
I am developing an SOG for our department and until it's done, the chief and me decide what gets out and what stays in.
So much for bringing the fire service in to the 21st century!,Oh an same rule here too,NO PICS to Internet sites unless approved,by the guys in the white hats first.Maybe there should be a time table of at least 6 months to a Year before posting/releasing such videos/pics,that way the dept. can view them and use them for training/other reasons first.It is a sensitive subject,and call info MAY fall under F.O.I.Act laws,(I think,don't quote me) An others.Also we dont want to ruin a Insurance claim in progress for the Property owner/tenant.My personal rule is not to say much of anything different than what was in the news,If it wasn't than they don't need to know.Also us EMS people also will remind you,that it may fall under HIPPA Laws as well.
I am a photographer for my department. Our photos are not only used on our web site so our community can see what we are doing for them and for the community but also it is a good way for us to go back and look at a call and see what was done right or wrong and change. It is also a very usefull tool to protect ourselves and our company
I guess I'm just jaded but looking at the DC TK.17 Tillerman link I noticed that it was posted BY the FFN WebTeam. I'm curious, is the statement, "New 2010 Tachyon XC Helmet Cam smokes the others, worth a look..." an endorsement for one of your sponsors? In other words have you entered this discussion in the hopes of encouraging others to perhaps...purchase this brand of camera? Hence a gentle 'nudge' in the direction of "If properly endorsed and supervised, a department could take advantage of the technology amid the social network, correct?" - FFN WebTeam. I would hate to think that discussions in here were being manipulated on behalf of a sponsor.
Should a department wish to issue a camera for the express purpose of recording for training/p.r. etc then by all means. But I think that there is some agreement in here that firefighters should not be using them unless authorized by their department to do so.
The video Ben posted clearly shows the problem with unregulated helmet cams. The videos all too often (within hours, minutes) turn up on youtube. I am of the opinion that helmet cams are something that appeal much more to the younger firefighter, one who may not give ample thought prior to uploading. Much of this is done in a "wah hoo lookee see what I'm doing" kind of mentality. Generally that never works out well for the fire service.
i completely understand why the HFD banned the cameras but i also see them as a very valuable training tool. yet saying that theres a huge responsibility that goes along with using a helmet cam and honestly a lot of people dont have the ability to use the camera wisely. if used for training purposes only and there was some how a way of enforcing the videos to stay inside the department i would say they should be used but with the people out there these days some idiot will screw everything up.
We are not allowed to have cameras, camcorders, helmet cams, or cell phones while on scene. This is actually a good thing. It takes a ton of liability off of the department. We have camcorders in our cheifs rigs that we use for Post Incident Analysis's or for training purposes only. You have to keep some stuff from making it to YouTube.