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  1. #1
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    Default Helmet Cam SOP/SOGs

    Hello All,

    Apologies if this is the wrong forum...

    We have several FFs who have helmet cameras. I have been tasked with writing SOPs for their operation.

    A couple of main points we have determined so far:

    1. Main purpose is call review/training.
    2. May help with investigations (arson).
    3. Video gathered on scene is the property of the FD.
    4. Only those with HIPAA training (EMTs/First Responders) allowed to use cameras.
    5. Any video taken on scene is reviewable by FD administration and can be sequestered if it is likely to be used as evidence.
    6. Video is not distributed or shared without prior administration approval.

    If anyone has SOPs/SOGs for helmet cams, I would appreciate a copy.

    I will gladly share whatever we put into service.

    Regards, Chris

    Lt FF/EMT-B
    csmcg@blkmountain.com


  2. #2
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    It looks like you've made really good start. Nice job!

    Quote Originally Posted by csmcgcsmcg View Post
    4. Only those with HIPAA training (EMTs/First Responders) allowed to use cameras.
    What's the purpose of this part? I presume it's on the basis that HIPAA style privacy rules would be applied to protect fire victims? If that's the case, you might want to state it explicitly.

    (Is your fire department covered under HIPAA? I only ask because this particular regulation could probably be omitted by any department not covered by HIPAA.)

    Does your department have a formal policy on protecting the privacy of people whose homes/businesses you enter? You might want to reference it in your camera policy.

    The novelty of helmet cams hasn't caught on yet here but I suppose we should look into it, too...
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    It looks like you've made really good start. Nice job!
    Thanks. We have legal council looking into the ramifications. So far it appears that (for better or worse) we are breaking new ground in my state.

    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    What's the purpose of this part? I presume it's on the basis that HIPAA style privacy rules would be applied to protect fire victims? If that's the case, you might want to state it explicitly.
    Yea, its for the victims. We have private EMS here but there are several EMTs on our department and most of us fill in for EMS when they are short-handed. As EMTs, we regularly become the primary caregivers on scenes where there is not enough EMS staff on scene at the moment. I did not want cameras running around the scene being operated by responders who do not 'get' patient confidentiality.

    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    (Is your fire department covered under HIPAA? I only ask because this particular regulation could probably be omitted by any department not covered by HIPAA.)
    Thanks, I will have to check into this. I assumed that because I was an EMT and I was a primary caregiver to the patient that I, and thus also the dept, had to comply with HIPAA regs. However, we are never the primary agency, and if we are doing patient care, it is always as mutual aid. It would be a great weight lifted if the dept was not covered by HIPAA...

    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Does your department have a formal policy on protecting the privacy of people whose homes/businesses you enter? You might want to reference it in your camera policy.
    No, not yet. This camera thing is going to become a snowball of SOPs isn't it


    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    The novelty of helmet cams hasn't caught on yet here but I suppose we should look into it, too...
    The little bit of filming that we have done has been really valuable for training and call review. I don't see it going away anytime soon.

    Thanks for the response. As I said before, I will share whatever we end up with and I'll notify everyone in this thread.

    Regards, Chris.

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber jfTL41's Avatar
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    IMO the only SOP governing helmet cams is that they be banned. Worry about doing your job and not what footage you can get for Youtube or your website...

  5. #5
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by csmcgcsmcg View Post
    We have private EMS here but there are several EMTs on our department and most of us fill in for EMS when they are short-handed. As EMTs, we regularly become the primary caregivers on scenes where there is not enough EMS staff on scene at the moment. I did not want cameras running around the scene being operated by responders who do not 'get' patient confidentiality.
    From what you're describing, you probably aren't covered under HIPAA. You should, however, have a clear ethics policy covering patient/fire victim privacy anyway, IMHO.

    Quote Originally Posted by csmcgcsmcg View Post
    It would be a great weight lifted if the dept was not covered by HIPAA...
    Here's the short test:

    (1) Does your department charge patients for EMS services?

    If not, you aren't covered under HIPAA.

    If so, (2) does your department bill insurance companies?

    If not, you aren't covered under HIPAA.

    If so, (3) does your department bill via electronic transactions?

    If not, you aren't covered by HIPAA.

    The definitive source on HIPAA can be found at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/

    Quote Originally Posted by csmcgcsmcg View Post
    No, not yet. This camera thing is going to become a snowball of SOPs isn't it
    Yeah... We probably should have had a formal camera SOP already but the helmet cams will really force the issue, I think.
    Last edited by DeputyMarshal; 11-20-2007 at 06:30 PM.
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  6. #6
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    I have a helmet cam. I turn it on when I get on the rig for the run, and turn it off after the call is over. That generally means that if something good is going to happen, there's a chance I might get it, but in reality, I just get hours and hours of really boring footage. People's feet, members standing around waiting for an assignment, things like that.

    There are no formal SOP's at work for them, although I don't think it's far off. My footage is used for training and call reviews, and doesn't get posted for public view (YouTube, department website, etc).
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfTL41 View Post
    IMO the only SOP governing helmet cams is that they be banned. Worry about doing your job and not what footage you can get for Youtube or your website...
    Uhhh, yea... Hence the reason that the video become the property of the FD. And the reason that only folks with EMS training would be allowed to use them. And the reason that the video cannot be shared outside of the FD.

    But thanks for assuming that it's all about juvenile and unprofessional behavior. That must be why some of our larger regional departments are putting cameras on the heads of BCs.

    In use, they get turned on in the truck and literally forgotten about after that.

    The good news and the bad news is that they do a pretty good job of recording scene activities. While doing call reviews, we are finding out that we are not much better at remembering the sequence of events than the reporting parties. In some cases, the videos have really smoothed out call reviews as conjecture pretty much dries up...

    Regards, Chris.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    The definitive source on HIPAA can be found at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/

    Yeah... We probably should have had a formal camera SOP already but the helmet cams will really force the issue, I think.
    Well, we certainly fail the test as we do not charge and we do not bill. Thanks a bunch. I will bring this up to council. It would sure make things more simple.

    Might as well get to work on the privacy policies... got one I could borrow? I'll trade you for a cam SOP when we are finished

    Regards, Chris.
    Last edited by csmcgcsmcg; 11-20-2007 at 05:07 PM.

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    Helmet cam SOP-new one to me. If I wrote one I'd make it simple-all video shot on calls is the property of the FD. Make the video, as well as pictures, part of the incident report. Unless the incident is under investigation, any video or pictures are public record and obtainable through a Freedom of Information request.

    I don't think too many people would like to see their kitchen fire on youtube.

    My other concern is the fire fighter with the cam becomes more interested in being the next Steven Spielberg instead of a fire fighter. I see it increasing the chance of moving around from an assigned position or staying too long in dangerous condition to get a better shot.

    My gut feeling is to have an SOP saying no helmet cams. Pictures and video from investigators or senior officers only.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfTL41 View Post
    IMO the only SOP governing helmet cams is that they be banned. Worry about doing your job and not what footage you can get for Youtube or your website...
    Not if you let non wackers have them, and use the video in a responsible matter; eg review after structure fires, review what could have been done better, record at trainings to bring back to dept.

    Granted, there ARE wackers out there that will want to put if up on youtube, and get laid from it.

    Make the footage property of the FD, and can not be released without permission from the FC, or his authorized rep.

    Punishment can and will include up to removal from dept.
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  11. #11
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    Shouldn't the first SOP be concerning the extra weight added to a helmet and what that is doing to the manufacturers warranty, let alone the wearers neck?
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    makes good girls go bad BLSboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingKiwi View Post
    Shouldn't the first SOP be concerning the extra weight added to a helmet and what that is doing to the manufacturers warranty, let alone the wearers neck?
    It weighs less the a half pound, and I don't even notice its there.
    It does nothing to void the manufacturers warranty, since there was no drilling into my helmet.
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    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    Myself and the Chief each have one, we are debating about just putting one on each rig and mounts on every helmet. If it is a hinderance for your department and they did not "authorize" the helmet cams to begin with then they need to be taken off of the helmets. Good luck .............
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    Thank you for the replies.

    To address a couple of concerns:

    The camera we use is no different in weight or mounting than a flashlight.

    The "senior officers only" argument has merit. Responsible use is key.

    Being an investigator myself, I have to admit that I'd love to see more 'on arrival' information.

    We are not currently using the cameras until SOPs are in place.

    Somewhat disappointed at the moment as I just finished a double extrication 20 minutes ago that included a really complicated entanglement. I end up doing extrication instruction locally and this one would have been really valuable...

    Regards, Chris.

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    Default Helmet Cam SOGs in service

    They are now approved by administration and in service. No guarantees that they will work in your area/state/province but they are a place to start. I will provide copies if anyone wishes.

    Regards.

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    I wouldn't want any videos on me or around me. Nothing good can come of it....
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF View Post
    I wouldn't want any videos on me or around me. Nothing good can come of it....
    I'll second that...they tried putting dash cams on our rigs...the pilot program was promptly scraped when response times soared 25 to 40% higher than normal.

    FTM-PTB

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED View Post
    I'll second that...they tried putting dash cams on our rigs...the pilot program was promptly scraped when response times soared 25 to 40% higher than normal.

    FTM-PTB
    They tried it in a few of our rigs, too. It didn't last long.
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    I know a lot of departments don't use Jr Firefighters, but we do.

    We have one Jr that is interested in Photography and Videos. On her turnout rack she has 1 digital camera and 1 video camera provided by the department. She has been given very detailed instructions from the Chief and her father (senior firefighter) on what is appropriate and what isn't. All pictures taken are property of the fire department. We do not post pictures or video on the internet of actual calls. We use pictures and video, chosen appropriately, for training classes.



    Our Juniors are allowed to come to scene on the third truck, if there is room, or on later vehicles as space allows. They are not allowed to go into the structure. They help with rehab, flaking out hoses, pulling gear off the trucks that we need, putting everything away at the end of the call.

    Because we have an assigned photographer, we don't allow our firefighters to take their own pictures or videos. Fire investigators have their own cameras they use to document investigations.

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    Please refer to the "Thoughts on this video" thread and make your decision accordingly!
    Last edited by ChicagoFF; 12-21-2007 at 11:44 AM.
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