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  1. #1
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    Default Social Media/Facebook Policy

    Does anyone have an SOP/SOG regarding social media/facebook and acceptable or unacceptable "conduct" for department personnel? Example: I post pictures identifying myself as a FF for ABC department, but then I participate in conversation on facebook dissing my employer, our governing authority, and/or co-workers. Or, I'm involved in extinguishing a house fire and take pictures with my cell phone and post them on facebook excited because it's my first fire, but I forget that it's a house that used to belong to a family who has lost everything. Not anything related to HIPAA as much as "common sense" type issues.


  2. #2
    Forum Member SFD_E73_RET's Avatar
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    I would keep the FD stuff off of there and you won't have any problems

  3. #3
    Forum Member NFD-Firefighter's Avatar
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    Just don't say anything you wouldn't say in front of your chief...
    Firefighting - one of the few professions left that still makes house calls.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by NFD-Firefighter View Post
    Just don't say anything you wouldn't say in front of your chief...
    Which is almost everything in my life... lol

  5. #5
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Don't be a weiner!!
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  6. #6
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    I dont see a problem identifying yourself with a department in your information, but that would be as far as i would go. I for one would not talk about anything work related on facebook. It is so easy for a misunderstood conversation to come back to haunt you. As far as an SOG, sorry, but i do not have one.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber tree68's Avatar
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    Remember, nothing ever completely disappears from the Internet. Even if you post something and delete it shortly thereafter (after reconsidering your reasons for posting it in the first place), somebody may well have copied it.

    I believe this was discussed elsewhere. We have a department Facebook page, but I limit it to department events and the subject line of our dispatch text messages (automatically routed to the FB page, and to which I'll later add a generic comment - "Structure Fire, mutual aid to {neighboring department}.") I'm the sole administrator.

    Pictures are a "whole 'nother ballgame." Many departments forbid on-scene photography by individuals not specifically detailed to take them due to legal, privacy, and department image issues. As has been seen in some high-profile legal cases, the wrong picture (or video) taken at the wrong time can cause a heap of trouble for all involved.

    A good mantra for posting on the 'Net is the good old "If you can't say something good about someone, don't say anything at all..."
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

  8. #8
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    Our department is revising ours right now. There was another post on this topic within the last 2 or 3 months that had some info in it. I will try and find it tonight when I'm at home. What I can say for sure is that it only takes one person to do something stupid online to ruin it for everyone =)
    Fire Service Interview questions - The blog that has REAL interview questions for firefighters, Engineers, Lieutenants, and Captains !

  9. #9
    Forum Member JayDudley's Avatar
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    We recently had to deal with this problem. We had Volunteers taking pictures on scene and posting them while they are there or soon after. Chief put a halt to this after a Fire Commissioner brought it to his attention. No phones to be used to take pictures on scene ....no pictures of scenes to be posted....no information about fire department to go out unless cleared. It's also simple common sense as was mentioned previously.....don't say anything you wouldn't say to the Chief .
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
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  10. #10
    Forum Member PaladinKnight's Avatar
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    You need to consider this...

    Anything that you post, state or display on this kind of public domain can be used as evidence against you.

    Case in point, many LE agencies find the bad guys by searching Social Media.

    New guidelines and policies are always being re-written concerning this issue.

    Before my arrival here, one of the city employees had posted information about themselves. Soon after, they began to receive messages from a person who wished to pursue a serious relationship. This situation went from what appeared to be harmless to the level of stalking within a few weeks. Yes the employee was female, and yes the police are looking for the guy after he broke into her house one night. If the guy had not identified himself to her when he woke her up, the connection would have not been established.

    Due to these social networks, the world is much smaller today compared to just a few years ago. So why give anyone that has an issue with you a roadmap to your life and indentity?
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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    I know in NY that PESH is looking at different social medias and fire department websites for pictures and then coming into fire departments and asking about SOG/SOP's. When the FD tells PESH what is the SOP is there are pulling up the different pictures and starting to fine departments because what they see is different then the SOP.

  12. #12
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    I appreciate all of the responses. With the popularity of fb, twitter, and the internet in general, I'm hoping to find something out there that's tried & true without stepping on someone's right to free speech and freedom of expression. There's such a fine line between those and common sense sometimes.

  13. #13
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtruelove View Post
    Does anyone have an SOP/SOG regarding social media/facebook and acceptable or unacceptable "conduct" for department personnel? Example: I post pictures identifying myself as a FF for ABC department, but then I participate in conversation on facebook dissing my employer, our governing authority, and/or co-workers. Or, I'm involved in extinguishing a house fire and take pictures with my cell phone and post them on facebook excited because it's my first fire, but I forget that it's a house that used to belong to a family who has lost everything. Not anything related to HIPAA as much as "common sense" type issues.
    You can't have it both ways.......

    -You either identify your employer in your profile, while posting pictures you have taken on-scene while on duty (which I personally feel is a no-no) and discuss your department, employer, and actions...(which is asking for trouble)...OR

    -You do NOT identify your employer, do NOT post pictures youhave taken on scene while on duty or discuss or topics concerning your employer.

    It's not rocket science.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  14. #14
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kpstrack View Post
    I know in NY that PESH is looking at different social medias and fire department websites for pictures and then coming into fire departments and asking about SOG/SOP's. When the FD tells PESH what is the SOP is there are pulling up the different pictures and starting to fine departments because what they see is different then the SOP.
    Throwing down the bullschit flag. Cite credentialed sources of this information please.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  15. #15
    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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    As long as there is a disclaimer that the comments made on that site are not representative of the department, municipality, or anyone else official, then it should be alright.

    We have a general policy of conduct that a person shall not do or say anything that would reflect negatively upon the fire department. I can send you our official SOG if you would like?
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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  16. #16
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    Dickey, I would appreciate anything you have to offer! Thanks! Fax: 770-538-2459. Thanks!

  17. #17
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    Ours is very simple.

    Any pictures that are posted must be reviewed by and approved by the Deputy Chief.

    There are those who have posted pictures without permission and have been disciplined.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

  18. #18
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    My #1 POC FD has a facebook page and no content that sheds a less than professional light on the FD is allowed. The Chief does review it on occasion and had a picture of 3 guys playing grab *** in front of the pumper removed.

    My #2 POC FD follows the new rules put in place by the sheriff's department as far as on scene photography by fire or ems personel. Because of a few idiots posting pictures online that were of less than good taste the sheriff's policy simply says anyone caught taking pictures using a cell phone on an emergency scene will have that phone confiscated and it will not be returned until the investigation is completed. 90 days was mentioned as a time frame.


    As far as posting stuff on facebook or elsewhere it can bite you hard in the ***. I know personally of a candidate who did not get hired specifically because of things he had posted on facebook. I also know of a fire department that requests unblocked access to your facebook account as part of their background check. ANYTHING you say can and will be used against you at some point and like others have said...IT NEVER GOES AWAY!
    “The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.” Leo F. Buscaglia

    This place gets weirder and weirder every day...

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