Firefighting, EMS, The Web and Social Media

by: Lou Angeli

Veteran responders: Remember back in the day -- before the internet -- when contact with one another was through print magazines or via "pen pals?" Back then we learned of LODDs, huge incidents, apparatus deliveries and job notifications through magazines like Firehouse, Fire Engineering, Fire Chief, JEMS and monthly regional newspapers.

For example, in the 1980's and early 90's, it might take us months to read about a story like Detroit's major staffing cuts. LODDs were honored 10-12 at a time in the trade magazines, with very little information about the specifics of those deadly incidents. And photos? We only had access to a few images from the largest of incidents. If we wanted to see additional photos, we purchased them from the photographer.

These days there are millions of online images of firefighters, EMTs, medics, apparatus, stations, incidents and more calendar shots than Hooters could ever muster. All free for the viewing. And within moments of a brother or sister dying on the job, notes of condolence and tribute are posted on discussion forums like FirefighterNation, blogs and, of course, Facebook.

Most importantly, though, we're able to read and view what's happening in departments throughout the world in real time through Twitter, YouTube and sites like Flickr. In addition, there are millions of pages of training and information, SOPs, SOG's, powerpoint presentations and features that allow departments to share valuable research, especially in areas of firefighter and EMT safety.
What are some of your recollections from the past when communicating with one another required a
stamp, subscription or long distance phone call.

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Comment by Bill Anderson on October 13, 2012 at 2:00am

Definately be cdareful of what you post. I posted on the page of my part time job and almost got in trouble. I didn't know all the facts and damn near got a butt chewing, So far all I got was a "friendly reminder" not to post. From now on I ain't postin' nutin'.

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