I agree, I believe they have, I said that we should just record leaving the station until we get out of town, or until we can see the scene ahead or know its ahead, Because im sure someone that was hurt who got there hands on the video would use it as evidence against the FD if something was to happen. But I mean it really is a third piece of evidence an we all know the camera does not lie if a traffic accident was to happen.
A personal video camera is not generally speaking, a good idea, and leaves you and the department open to liability. The videos will get posted online, crews will be talking about that "cow" or "dog" standing on the street corner, or yelling and cussing out the driver of a vehicle who fails to yield to your demand of right of way. Or even better, forget the camera is on and say some not so flattering things about a patient, or even perhaps talk about their favorite color or brand of condoms (which would end up in this forum).
From a Risk Management perspective, a major insurance carrier of fire departments HQ'd in your state has found that approximately 75% of the time, the recording shows that the department didn't screw up when it comes to auto accidents. In the 25% of the time they did, then it makes settling the claim go faster.
A couple of Risk Management Questions for your department.
1. What is the purpose of the videos? What are you trying to accomplish?
2. How will access and distribution of the video be controlled? It only takes one person to download it and hit the send button and it will be all over the world.
3. How will you protect patient confidentiality?
4. Do you currently have a policy on recording scenes? (think Helmet cams, cell phones etc. If not you not only need a policy, you also need to train your folks on enforcing the policy.
5. If you record responses, how will you manage the retention of the videos? These are discoverable, just like any report writtten regarding an incident. At a minimum, you need to follow you state's Records Retention Guidelines.
These are my thoughts from a Risk Manager's perspective. Good luck and I hope it helps.
I think if the video is kept in-house and secure, it can be a good thing. It's only bad if someone does or says something they shouldn't. My dad taught us to always behave as though he and Mum were watching. If everyone is aware that their actions are being recorded, it might keep a few loose cannons in check, and as mentioned, it could be invaluable evidence in the event of an accident. Then again, if the D/E is breaking all the rules...
I've watched a great number of videos of fire scenes in recent months, usually reading the critical comments that follow. Interesting subject, in that it makes a great tool for training and spotting mistakes by respondents. Some of what I've seen I've found amazing, sometimes, astonishing.
Once you leave the station, behave as though you're being videotaped. Maybe you are. Nearly everyone has a cell phone these days...
My department has been looking into placing video/audio devices that will record a few seconds befor and a few seconds after an impact , or as we found out-any heavy bump , out the front windshield AND the interior of the cab . So far , one Engine was outfitted . I think it is a great idea , because we have a few rookies-I've been on the job for 28 years- who drive too fast and this would be a great safety feature that might keep them mindful of driving safer . Great idea , but as usual we may never see the rest of our fleet outfitted due to the cost- a safety feature that the all-mighty dollar decides if we get it or not .
Although you definitely don't want to use a general consumer system if you want the recordings to be secure (and likewise hold up in court well), there is the option of using law enforcement grade wearable video systems and mounting them in a vehicle while in route if you also want the option of wearing them or moving them between vehicles easily. I know the FirstVu is easy to transfer around like that. The downside is it doesn't have the auto-record ability (from turning on the lights, accidents, and so forth).
One thing about vehicle event recorders is that you can get one that wouldn't record all of the time (or at least won't keep the recordings unless the system is triggered to start recording), which can ease the nerves, but at the same time it'll capture everything you need it to if there is an incident. I believe the DVM-250 is one of the less-expensive high-quality systems and it won't kill you with ongoing fees like Safety Vision. It'll also keep more than just a few seconds before the recording is triggered, which can be beneficial if you activate a recording manually.
It can be good are bad, more then likely every Engineers driving skills will be questioned etc etc. I have notice their more of a pain then good, but i have also seen good caused by them (more bad then good though).
You can buy a mounting kits that mounts on the rigs dash, not sure of company.
The use of personal cameras whether video or still should not be used. Devices such as most police departments use to me is a great idea. It seemed at first the officers were hesitant in having them in their vehicles. Now....totally opposite as it's helped solve issues with accusations towards officers and helped with being able to show in court how the suspect was acting or stated. With the use of personal videos, it does come to mind that a FF can be more worried about whether or not the record button is on vs whether they have their gear on correctly!
Pilots are taught to have a "sterile" environment inside the cockpit. Which means....staying completely focus on the task at hand especially when moving about on the airfield. Keeps the pilots thoughts where they should be i.e., communication with the tower, seeing what's around them like other aircraft, paying attention to their preflight checklist and back to basics so to speak.....doing their job! Same thing applies to the apparatus....stay focus as to what you're suppose to be doing. Looking cool is not on the "checklist". Keep the cab "sterile"!