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If you carry a cell phone these days, you carry a camera and video recorder, too. Technology has made life recordable, anywhere, anytime, even when it's inconvenient or inappropriate! Take a moment to notice bystanders on your next MVA or structure fire; my guess is you'll see plenty of cell phones out recording our every move. This is the technological world we live in - it's the new reality.

Unfortunately, firefighters carry these devices, too - and it has caused some serious problems. Whether for fun, curiosity, or to fill some narcissistic need for acceptance - firefighters are recording scenes that should never be captured. Even if you're intentions were to lever release those images from your cell phone, bad things have a way of happening to inappropriate behavior. We've seen this happen before with its tragic aftermath for the fireman and the families involved!

Needless to say, these videos and photos should never be posted on the internet. Make no mistake, once you post something on a social media site, there's no pulling the strings to get it back. It's out there, forever - and people ARE watching!  You can't control the monster once it is out of the box, so why create the monster at all.

Best policy: Leave the phone in your pocket or on the rig! Besides, don't you have something better to do?!


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Comment by Art "Chief Reason" Goodrich on June 15, 2011 at 2:26pm

It's interesting to note that not too much has been reported since we had the firefighter who took photos at the fatal wreck and then shared them with buddies at the bar. It was south somewhere.

It would appear that professional athletes and professional politicians haven't gotten the memo yet.

Some people want to "bare" their souls on social media sites like Facebook and in a moment of "weakness" provide us with too much information. It can be embarrassing is an understatement. That is why public safety agencies have to have strict policies on shared information; what can be shared and how it can be shared. Otherwise, black eyes will continue to befall us.


Comment by P.J. Norwood on June 14, 2011 at 9:13pm
Paul, As always great job! The only point I would like to add; we the fire service continue to give our selfs a black eye in the court of public opinion. Regardless of who's taking the picture or video it will end up on the front page, you-tube or the many other sites. We need to start policing our selfs and our FF's. A picture is one second in time. A video is one piece of the entire operation. But. all that will be seen is the one mistake or moment of bad judgment that was made and that is what the court of public will base their opinion on for years to come. brother and Sisters do so much good each and everyday it has created a network of trust from our citizens. But, that trust that has taken years and years to create can be shattered in the one second that a picture or video captured.
Comment by Paul Combs on June 14, 2011 at 2:52pm
LOL! Love it!
Comment by Art "Chief Reason" Goodrich on June 14, 2011 at 2:40pm

Don't be a Wiener!

Sorry; too easy.


Comment by Paul Combs on June 14, 2011 at 10:25am
Thanks, Chief!
Comment by John K. Murphy on June 14, 2011 at 10:23am
You are so right on point. The Fire Engineering Fire Service Court lawyers harp on this issue every time we write articles or speak on our podcast and radio show. It is an important issue for fire department to create a strong enforceable policy related to this issue. There already have been numerous terminations of firefighters and paramedics based on their inexcusable behavior. And Facebook is getting sued for postins from firefighters pictures. A shout out to you for creating this illustration
Comment by Paul Combs on June 14, 2011 at 8:55am
It is so easy to do, Chief - even when we think it's innocent. We've got to be careful these days, especially with waning public support and perceptions - I've been there! Didn't take the photos, but I didn't stop it either!! Learned my lesson, too!
Comment by Mike France on June 14, 2011 at 8:45am

Know this one first hand just got yelled at for a training video we took and some of the comments made , they were not bad just talking among chief officers , and laughing. Learned my lesson. won't happen again . 1st write up as a Chief officer by the Board , never will happen again.


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