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  • Use Of Cell Phones On Scene?

    Hey, what are your opinions on the use of cell phones while on scene? Member(s) often take(s) pictures of incidents to put on Facebook/Myspace, it irritates me some. I dont have much pull so i cant say much, i just want your take on this matter. . thanks!
    Last edited by Ashburn_2011; 11-08-2010, 02:22 PM.

  • #2
    Phones

    They are banned here on the fire scene. They work instead of taking pictures and talking on them. We had the same problem here but we had the Chief put a stop to it.
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
    Retired Fire
    Background Investigator
    IACOJ-Member
    Lifetime Member CSFA
    IAFF Alumni Member

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    • #3
      Great. I dont see a problem in using them after the fire is extinguished and everything packed up, but while a house is rolling or while a wreck scene needs privacy, dont think so. . Work First, Play Later
      Last edited by Ashburn_2011; 11-08-2010, 02:24 PM.

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      • #4
        Shouldnt be allowed anywhere.How unprofessional can you get?!

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        • #5
          Very True. Thanks.

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          • #6
            Having an on scene photographer from the news is one thing ive been taught not to tolerate, so how is a cell phone camera and Facebook any different?
            Last edited by Ashburn_2011; 11-08-2010, 02:18 PM.

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            • #7
              My department allows observers to ride along, if there is an unoccupied seat on an apparatus rolling out. The observer is supposed to wear a hi-viz safety vest marked "OBSERVER" so that everyone will know to not ask that person to do anything. I've been told that the "official job" of the observer is to take photos.

              In reality, the observer rarely wears the specific safety vest (when one is needed, they just grab the first one they can find). Also in reality, the observer is usually a volunteer who is in training and not qualified to actually do anything, but wants to come along and see "how things are done in the real world". The observer is supposed to stay out of the way and not do anything, but the reality is they can sometimes get in pretty close, and sometimes do extremely simple things if asked, such as bracing or pulling a stretcher. Observers should not be touching patients or any EMS or fire/rescue equipment, unless maybe someone asked the observer to go grab something specific. But they shouldn't be operating anything.

              The photos are supposed to be "action shots". They can also be used for training purposes. No specific department policy regarding the content of the photos has ever been told to me. However, I am proud to say that I've learned from what I've read here! Before I ever started taking any on-scene photographs, I had read several threads about photos here, so when I had my first opportunity to take some, I was very careful to leave victims/bystanders OUT. When it was unavoidable to have them in the photo, I fuzzed out their faces before posting online (on the department's Facebook group page). I also fuzzed out license plates.

              So far, I've only photographed on one scene, a truck-vs.-SUV wreck involving six occupants in a Suburban. There were no serious injuries (as proof, Shock Trauma was negligibly farther from the scene than the local hospital, but everyone was taken to the local hospital). I believe I have this album set for public viewing. If I have included any inappropriate photos, let me know. Keep in mind that taking these photos did not keep me from doing my job, because this was my job. http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...9&l=f208abe036
              -Justin J. "JJR512" Rebbert

              The comments and opinions I express are solely my own and do not necessarily represent those of any employer or volunteer organization with which I am associated. Nobody is responsible for anything I say other than I alone.

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              • #8
                We had a problem in this area with cell phone pictures making it online before the units were able to get back in service, or even on scene. A local news website soliciting such pictures didn't help any.

                Of course, sometimes the news manages to do the same thing. We had one newspaper photographer that sometimes managed to beat the first units to the scene... Along with the above mentioned cell phone picture issue, I contacted our local TV station about broadcasting information about victims along with pictures of vehicles involved as we have a much deployed military unit in the area and posting such images might be how a service member found out about something that happened to a loved one back home.

                After some pictures of a mill building fire, taken from the top of an aerial, showed up on line, the chief of that career FD declared "never again," and banned on-scene photography not sanctioned by the IC, specifically from "inside the tape." Can't really regulate what happens outside the tape.

                While there is no other specific ban on cell photography, cell phone or otherwise, on the scene around the county, some stern admonition to all responders from county leaders stemmed most of the problem.

                That said - cell phones can provide a number of benefits on the scene. Hopefully no one is actually using them for fire combat, but they are helpful for arranging support without tying up the usually strained radio channels, and for confidential messages.
                Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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                • #9
                  Well you might be able to control your members from taking pics but the public is a different issue altogether. I know, there's been a few MVA's that have popped up over the internet that were in our first due and we did not take the pics and people have accused us of taking and posting the pics.

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                  • #10
                    Does your dept have a policy in place , if not they need one before they wind up on the news or in court
                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZdEH...e_gdata_player

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ashburn_2011 View Post
                      Having an on scene photographer from the news is one thing we do not tolerate, so how is a cell phone camera and Facebook any different?
                      Your department can not prevent the news folks from taking photos, videos, etc.

                      As far as that goes, they can not prevent Joe Citizen from taking photos, videos from the sidewalk across the street or from public property!
                      Stay Safe and Well Out There....

                      Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
                        Your department can not prevent the news folks from taking photos, videos, etc.

                        As far as that goes, they can not prevent Joe Citizen from taking photos, videos from the sidewalk across the street or from public property!

                        Very true. thanks guys so much! keep em coming!
                        Last edited by Ashburn_2011; 11-08-2010, 02:11 PM.

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                        • #13
                          thats the news and public.Not us! We are held to a higher accountabilty than them.Cordon the area off and have police control the press.As long as it does not come from our cell phones.Im sorry, people making excuses such as " good for training purposes" and having observers.I just dont agree with it.Using someone elses misfortune for training purposes is just not moral.Those people have a right to privacy and diginity.And it is part of our job to maintain their diginity.

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                          • #14
                            Although we've never had a problem at the VFD with people using their personal cell phones and posting photos to Facebook, etc, in light of some of the negative press that's recently occurred nationwide, we have enacted a policy that prevents the use of non-department-owned cameras for recording incidents. Our engine, tanker, and heavy rescue all have cameras on them, and the photos are kept on a department-owned computer with password protection. We use some of the photos for documentation, some for our website, some for training.

                            At work, we can use a camera on scene, but we MUST document it and the photos are reviewed for privacy concerns by our executive staff, and as long as they meet our department standards, they're put on one of the computer servers.

                            The one common thread between both departments? You can NOT use your personal cell phone to document the incident!
                            Career Fire Captain
                            Volunteer Chief Officer


                            Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

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                            • #15
                              To make a phone call, fine.

                              To take pictures... that's immature and unprofessional.
                              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."

                              "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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