1. #1
    Vol
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    Red face FF taking pictures at scenes

    We have had guys taking pictures at scenes with their cell phones. Members of the department have some concern about this which i can understand. We have not had any make it on the FB or Twitter yet thankfully. The department would like to write something up about not taking picture/video at any scenes with personal devices. The department is buying 2 digital camera to have on the trucks because we do want to document the scene but want to make sure it doesn't get out without approval of the chief.
    What are your thoughts?
    If your department has something in effect already can i read through it?


    Thanks in Advance
    VOL

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    First, write a policy which states NO photography/video on-scene with personal devices unless cleared with a chief (or name-your-officer).

    Second, get the cameras you mention and write a policy (or into the other policy) that they are the only authorized equipment as such.

    You may not have had any photos (that you know of) hit the media yet, but it's only a matter of time.

    There have been a number of stories in the trade press about such incidents.

    Of course, you have no control of passersby, other than keeping them outside the tape.

    We have a local web news aggregator who willingly accepts photos from the site's followers. We had a problem for a while with responders sending in photos from scenes.

    How would you like to find out your loved one was involved in a bad accident by seeing their vehicle (or possibly even them) on a website?

    A nearby career-staffed department put out a "no cameras" policy that even applies to mutual aid personnel after photos of a large mill fire, taken from the top of their aerial, showed up on the web... Essentially, it's no pictures inside the tape, without permission.
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    You should DEFINITELY have in your policy that there be absolutely NO photos of victims with personal recording devices ever. And a policy that no images taken of a scene by any member whether with personal or dept. devices be posted on the internet without prior approval of the Chief. It should also be stated that FD personnel should not be taking pics when they are engaged in operations.

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    The biggest liability of having "unauthorized" photos going online is HIPPA. This would pertain to vehicle accidents, EMS calls, etc..

    Lets face it. Cell phones and other devices with cameras are everywhere. Everyone gets excited and wants to take photos. Time to implement a policy to stop "unauthorized" photos and get this policy instilled in your members.

    Having "authorized" pictures can benefit the department for fire cause determination, evidence, etc.. It's just that you need to stop "unauthorized" picture taking.

  5. #5
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    Like the others have said, we've created a strict "no photos taken with personally owned cameras, cell phones, smart phones, or other wireless devices" policy. We have a digital camera on each vehicle, and the photos are only loaded onto department computers for review.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by FIRE117 View Post
    The biggest liability of having "unauthorized" photos going online is HIPPA.
    Please don't bring up HIPPA.

    We've been down this road so much on these forums.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

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    Again, someone has brought up HIPAA as you can't take their photos as it violates that law. Where and how does it say that?


    First of all it is HIPAA not HIPPA!

    Below is a piece regarding the HIPAA rule.


    http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/
    The Office for Civil Rights enforces the HIPAA Privacy Rule, which protects the privacy of individually identifiable health information; the HIPAA Security Rule, which sets national standards for the security of electronic protected health information; and the confidentiality provisions of the Patient Safety Rule, which protect identifiable information being used to analyze patient safety events and improve patient safety.
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    The problem with photography (and video) these days is less one of the images being captured than the fact that the same images all too often end up on social media sites within seconds.

    In our area, that can have some pretty far-reaching implications. The nearby military base usually has troops deployed. Imagine the distress a service member would feel seeing his/her loved one's vehicle wrapped around a pole, etc, long before anyone has a chance to notify them directly.

    To me that is the bigger issue. In the days of film, we didn't have to worry about this. By the time the film was developed, etc, the event was old news, even if the photog had immediate access to a way to get the film developed.

    As already noted, photos taken for training/review have value. In addition, they are usually seen within the narrow context of training/review. If one of my members can take photos (even with his/her personal cell phone) that will be kept within department confines, and will be reviewed before any sort of publication, I'll gladly approve, as long as they aren't detracting from incident mitigation in the process of doing so. We don't have cameras on our apparatus, so personal equipment is the way to go. I usually have my digital SLR in my POV, so that may be how the pictures are taken.

    In short, the problem is less people taking pictures and more their mis-use in social media. Policies and procedures should reflect that.
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    Default Policy

    We have simply said....NO PICTURES AT EMERGENCY SCENES.... A local Fire Chief has stated "If I see one picture on the internet......YOUR GONE!! Pretty plain to me..how about you????
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    Our county Emergency Services department sent memos to all departments in the county banning unauthorized photos after there were a few incidents within the state and our county. The memo contained a warning that taking unauthorized pictures would give grounds for families to sue especially if they ended up on social media sites. I heard of the few cases that people found out about a family member being killed in an MVA before being notified because they came across the picture on Facebook.

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    We will post a couple of photos from major incidents on our webpage and our Facebook page, but usually only 3-5 days after the event so the local media can provide coverage, and family members have a realistic amount of time to be notified. We are sensitive to the wishes of the families and community on some particularly painful incidents, and those do not get posted.

    All of these images, of course, are department owned and managed, and individual members can not post images from their personal accounts, nor take photos with anything they own personally.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayDudley View Post
    We have simply said....NO PICTURES AT EMERGENCY SCENES.... A local Fire Chief has stated "If I see one picture on the internet......YOUR GONE!! Pretty plain to me..how about you????
    Why the zero tolerance rule on this? Surely there are plenty of scenes that it would be helpful to have photos of at a later date...
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    Default Pictures

    Later is fine for training...our problem was while they (Volunteers) were on scene they were posting pictures on FB......as it was happening which is not good.
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayDudley View Post
    Later is fine for training...our problem was while they (Volunteers) were on scene they were posting pictures on FB......as it was happening which is not good.
    Bingo!

    It's today's "connected" society.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    First of all it is HIPAA not HIPPA!
    Oops! Sorry. Another acrynom that I must memorize.

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    I responded to an double fatal MVA that happened to be family and pics got out, so I understand how it feels. My department has a policy written that no cell phones are aloud on the scene. If you need to make a call it has to be cleared by a Chief. Most guys don't have a problem with this, there is too much to do.
    We are also very lucky to have a photographer who is a retired FF who takes most of our pics and does so with great class. This is nice because he is responsible for the photos and has it cleared.
    Of course there is little you can do about the public.

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    Be careful and definitely have a policy in place. Check out the story from Spaulding County, GA.

    http://statter911.com/2010/10/28/ter...of-dead-woman/

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