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Not surprisingly, most departments encourage internet usage for fire department based sites. Of the 19 respondents in September,

16 said their department encouraged the use of the internet. Some had provisions for miss-use of the internet which I believe is totally acceptable. We are not being paid to surf cooking or other sites.

3 said that their department (including my previous department) did not allow internet use.

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Replies to This Discussion

Our Department encourages the use of Internet for training purposes, we have software that records our usage which allows our officers to review what has been looked at. Our guys have not had any issues with looking at sites that are inappropriate and utilize the service in a manner to help their careers.
Todd McKee
Eastern Knox County Joint Fire District, Danville, Ohio
Our FD allows full use of the internet, with some provisions for mis-use. Basically the misuse is determined as anything you have to minimize when any person, be they other employee, officer or taxpayer come into the room. Our personnel are expected to only use the internet for FD related sites during "work" time, basically the day shift. After hours, when you could be watching TV or whatever, you're allowed full access minus the obvious (porn or other offensive type sites). Surfing cooking sites makes mealtime better for all of us! If we're paid to watch t.v., than why not?
We have internet access however it only allows certain sites. Ie Firehouse, Fire Engineering nothing like Facebook, or MSN Yahoo etc so pretty much to say you can not check your personal email. The City can also monitor what your looking at. So right now they see me using the internet and Im on Fire Engineering I use the Internet as training when on shift as there are only 2-3 of of us in the house. So not very much hands on training happens. However if they see the internet being used a certain times of the day and it really has no propuse for work they will block that address and send a warning. So as long as it's work related and not abused for non-scense or personal use. I think the Internet should be allowed.

W Benner
Ontario Canada
We do have internet access in all Albuquerque FD stations and facilities, though there is a net nanny filtering what members can access.
Unfortunately, because there are some members that cannot act like responsible adults, internet access is usually very limited and members cannot access personal email accounts unless they have one through the city.
Lastly, and most regrettably, not enough members take advantage of the training opportunities on line.
Our department also has internet access in all of our stations. Some of our EMS training is done on-line. We have city e-mail accounts where a bunch of city wide and department communication takes place. Unfortunately, some members refuse to access their account. I'm not sure why. We also have "rules" for the use of computers and the internet. They have been abused by individuals at times, which is a shame. At one of our stations the guys took it upon themselves to hook a lap top up to the large screen TV that they bought. This is great, because when I see something training wise on line I can gather everyone together and show it on the big screen. Much better than knocking heads trying to look at a regular monitor screen. Fortunately, this set up has not been "abused" by the members. The guys were "caught" one day by a chief doing some ARFF training on the big screen, and it netted them $50 bucks toward the cost of the TV!
We are allowed use of the internet and currently don't have an "Internet Usage" policy.

I'm a firm believer on using the internet in the fire service. I find that it's a great resource to keep up on what's new in our profession. You would be surprised how many web based training classes there are. with the price of travel today, the internet makes trainiing easier than ever. Of course there is no replacing actual training but if your budget does not allow alot of travel then the internet makes it easy.


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