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  1. #1
    Fireplug99
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    Question Internet access in the station

    I was wondering how other departments handle internet access in their station. Do you allow unlimited access? Limited access? Senior personnel only? Officers only? Who governs the use of the internet? If you allow internet access, what rules, if any, apply?


  2. #2
    athenaeum
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    The above issues are exactly why we dont have it. The liability of online service in the fire station is to risky. We already had a major problem with our paid staff that resulted in our female vol firefighters being exposed to hard core porn on the computers that they were required to use. If it was up to me sombody would have been fired. If we can figure out how to have it safely it would be the best resource to ever be introduced into the station.

  3. #3
    dtj
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I work for a state correctional agency, not a fire service. All personnel at my facility and several others, but not all facilities, have access to computers as it will soon be required to do your job. Nearly all computers have access to the internet. Policy is written by State MIS/OIS Office; enforcement is generally at the institutional/facility level. Certain objectionable sites are blocked out by system administrators. The system is "official use only", but there is some unauthorized use. The culprits are identified and dealt with.
    Our biggest problem is staff installing various instant messenger services that conflict with network settings and causing server access problems. Computers can be set to keep this from happening. My other concern is the capabilities of some of the technicians; it seems things are worse after repair.
    Even though certain sites are blocked, you can still access other pornographic websites. When that happens I can prove date and time, but not the individual. However, the OIC, usually a SGT, is responsible for all activities in their unit and they are made aware of the unauthorized computer use. To date, I have never had to go back to the same OIC for such a problem.
    Overall, I believe it's a matter of individual discipline.

  4. #4
    Adze
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    We recently received an old computer from the town. I was in charge of getting it setup and getting internet on it. I setup Aol for the people who have that and bluelight.com for anyone who didn't have AOL. As of right now, we have no rules regarding use of the internet. We trust everyone to be responsible (famous last words!).

  5. #5
    Fireplug99
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I thank you for your replies. The problem is that, unfortunately, you cannot trust some people to use their best judement. There will always be those that believe the "rules" are for other people. I don't believe filters are the answer. As stated, there are ways around those. I also feel that one should not have to install "parental" filters for adults.

  6. #6
    Rescue 21
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Here, the individual companies bought their own computers for their station as well as pay for their internet access. Nothing is blocked out because everyone pays the same amount for the service. Only those that pay can use the computer as well. The City is putting separate computers in for routine paperwork and for EMS PCR's done electronically. Those ones will not have internet access.

  7. #7
    Tower1Lackey
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    As of right now, officers only in our dept. have Internet access, but every firefighter has email to use to keep us in the loop. Naturally, a firewall is set up to block any "good" stuff that people may try to see on the Net. There's a rule about having too much fun at work that they want to be sure is never broken!


  8. #8
    dch419
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    My department started to pay for internet service about a year ago. When it was all set up, the policy that I wrote had several specifications, including that personnel couldn't go online until after 4pm on working days, and only after all general work for the day is completed. Weekends were variant on the work load. Also, it was not to interfere with any other computer work that took precedence. Access could be used at any time by permission of the OIC if the work was specifically for the department (training, research, etc.). We chose not to limit access, since web filters often block access to sites based on the text, which could block acess to ordinary sites. The policy specifies that sites are not to be entered containing material that would not be suitable for a public building. So far we've had no problems.

    [This message has been edited by dch419 (edited 03-09-2001).]

  9. #9
    Chuckand
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    No internet access for us. The powers to be are supposed to be trying to set up access to only a couple of "safe" sites. We'll have to wait and see how successful they will be.

  10. #10
    Junior Member
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    Sydney, Australia
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    Here in Sydney, Australia, all stations have computers with net access. We have protocols in place regarding inapropriate accessing of sites and filters in place,seems to work O.K.

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber UTFFEMT's Avatar
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    We have full internet access at work. There is a couple of Firewalls, but for the most part, the City trusts adults to act like adults.

    There have I think been a couple of incidents over the past couple of years. Computors leave a foot print of whos been on and where they were on the internet, so tracking the perpotrators or should I say Pornatrators is usually not too difficult.

    All our Internet access goes thru a mainframe in the City Center so, we have big brother watching us all the time. I think for the most part that is deterent enough for most people.

    Our City Deals with incidents as they happen, we prefer not to flock shot all due to a couple of bad eggs.
    Front line since 1983 and still going strong

  12. #12
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    First, Chief Taylor which department in Utah you from?

    As for the issue at hand. Our department didn't allow for internet access for anybody, until recently. The reason it is a benifit is all of information and resources that are out on the web. It is a real benifit for the firefighters. The other benifit is the access of email. Our server is located at the city so we do have big brother, but that is not all inclusive. It can track the computer and date and time a negative site was accessed but not exactly who accessed. There can be as many as 10 guys in the station at any given time or more. I agree adults should act as adults and incidents dealt with on a case by case mentality. There is a way to make it completely secure though. Use and network operating system with secure access, such as Windows NT, or Windows 2000. These allow you to assign a specific user ID and password to every user and member of the department. You can then restrict access to certain sensitive files or another person's files. It also makes it so that if a questionable site is accessed you will know exactly who's ID was used. Tracking it down to an individual. If it wasn't him or her then they are at fault for disclosing their ID and password or for not logging off the system when they left. Then have a strictly enforced policy to deal with the perpatrators. This helps to prevent the problems and if they do occur it is the responsiblity of the individual and the department and city can limit a great deal of liabilities. Just a suggestion.
    Firefighter/Paramedic Ron Sanders
    Midvale Fire Department
    Medic Ambulance 22 - A Platoon

    Firefighters, Walking where the Devil Danced!

    This is simply my opinion and does not represent the opinion or view of my employer(s) or any department/agency to which I belong.

    Personal Website: http://RonSanders.Biz Check it Out!

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber asaffell's Avatar
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    We ALL have internet access here. We are all held accountable. And YES, big brother is watching. We used our city account & passwords to access & the mainframe does track us. I have not heard of anyone getting in trouble yet. I'm sure someone will eventually go some place they shouldn't. Rule #1: don't give out your password & Rule #2: don't go anywhere that could get you in trouble. Duhhh. Be responsible!
    Saffell
    1 Corinthians 1:18
    For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

  14. #14
    Senior Member BFD196's Avatar
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    Stamford CT
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    Our firehouse has a cable network, there are a total of three computers. 2 also have AOL if anyone wishes to use it. We haven`t had any problems significant enough to warrent getting rid of the internet. It`s one of those things that helps keep guys hanging around the firehouse, and when your volunteer it`s nice to have the extra guys.

  15. #15
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    Our Station has a Computer System but No Internet Access. We store everything from the Equipment Inventory to the NFIRS Reports in there so access is limited to Officers Only and maybe one or two members with computer knowledge....
    ***The Opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not reflect those of the Department to which I am a Member ! ***

    Stratford Fire Co. # 1.."Any Job ~ Any Place ~ Any Time"

    Check us Out www.stratfordfire.com

  16. #16
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    i`m at work right now but our computers have very limited access. no chat rooms and other material that would be considered entertainment.

  17. #17
    MembersZone Subscriber UTFFEMT's Avatar
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    First, Chief Taylor which department in Utah you from?
    Orem City, Department of Public Safety/Fire Division. Station #2 Were you just wondering??

    Personnally, I think the Internet access issue is an old issue. There are way too many positives verses the negatives on this one.
    Front line since 1983 and still going strong

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