Our dept. is looking for information to compose a Standard Operating Guideline for posting pictures, video of fire and wreck scenes to firefighter's Social Network pages, Youtube, etc.
We do not want to forbid it but we are trying to create a guideline that would have all fire dept. related audio and visual material be approved by a committee or by the officer designated by the Chief before the material can be posted to the internet via Youtube, Social pages etc........
If anyone has info on a guideline their dept. uses please let me know.
It is a written order, and to date, nobody has wanted to push the issue. We are working on a specific written guideline. As far as protecting the department, we do have an extensive HIPPA guideline, and the majority of the liability would fall on the employee/member who violated. The department is covered in that we sign an acknowledgment that we have read, understand, and agree to follow the guidelines, and understand the penalties for violations.
Oldman, I think somewhere around Page 67 of the Hippa "rules and responsibilities" the organizations department HIPPA officer, is responsible for training, and the lack of compliance for your members as well.
The policy we have is the information must be disseminated by the Fire Chief or his designee as an "official department press release". You will never see a picture or video released of any incident from a fire department member (on his or her own) especially to the social media sites. Some of the pics on this site alone, make me cringe when I look at the incidents... safety concerns, and such. Public preception fellas...
The use of any personally owned picture devices, like cellphone, ipods, video gaming devices that take pictures, digital camera, 35mm cameras, polaroid cameras, (for us old farts) are banned from use by the members unless you are authorized as part of the investigation team. We are on duty and the department "OWNS" everything you do and say on duty, whether paid or volunteer.
Helmet cameras were recently banned, big sh*tstorm as we were informed by the city lawyer that unless we have permission from the person who you are filming, and more specifically voice recording, then it is not allowed by the law. So therefore, it is easier to ban the device as compared to say "OK guys keep it to yourself and just don't release it"
Regardless, if you have a helmet cam of a rescue, the lawyer for the victim(s) whether he survived or not, will surely come with a subpeona to say the fire department was too slow, missed something or someone that effected the outcome of an incident. I can think of some WTF incidents that some have said thank god nobody was filming that fiasco.... I don't need Little Johnny's helmet camera coming back to potentially effect my livelihood. Could be as simple as a comment on the video from guys in staging, that gets misconscrewed and then the device records a decent rescue but the comment is recorded... Stuff the public has no right knowing, like how we handle the stress of the job... and dark humor.
But hey kids these days want to share this cool information before the incident is over...
Informational Highway.... can be a fire chief's nightmare.
I read the post there and most said that their dept had proprietary ownership of photos video pretaining to the dept. but still have yet to find anything in writing such as a Standard Operating Guideline or Procedure that departments have created to cover this.....almost all info i have found has been department has issued a memo or has a Chiefs Order but have not found anything on a guideline that a department is currently using.........Guess it is time for the creative thinking to kick in and create my own for inspection by our legal counsel
For the reasons you listed above Standard Operating Guidelines would cover and it would also give the dept. some say as to who approves the content that can be uploaded whether it is the PIO or a Public Information committee........We are a Volunteer dept. so threatening to fire someone that does it really does nothing to them....However if they sign a Public information document regarding the issue and are aware that the dept. can terminate membership to the organization if information is not approved by the appropriate personnel.......It still leaves them with the ability to be able to share what they do as a public service but also gives the dept. some say in what gets posted and what does not.
Fire Dept. websites can be an awesome tool to interact with the public and to let them know what you are doing since they are the ones that pay taxes but there has to be a guide on what content can be uploaded that shows the dept. in a favorable way to the people it serves.
This is true but I believe actual language and written guidelines is what he's looking which were not provided through this discussion link... however, there are a couple of responses from firefighters who mention their departments SOG's, giving specific resources now for you Todd. I should mention here that FETC's reference is a must read for understanding more about this topic.
Might I suggest reviewing language found in the below resource link from a neighboring fire department who always does things the right way...
This does not specifically give direction and language regarding SOG's but helps fill in the blanks from a public right to know perspective and the legal issues revolving around public record access that includes photos, videos, etc.