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Helmet Cam SOP/SOGs

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  • 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
    It looks like you've made really good start. Nice job!

    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"
    sigpic
    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

    Comment


    • #3
      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.

      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.

      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...

      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


      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.

      Comment


      • #4
        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...

        Comment


        • #5
          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.

          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/

          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, 06:30 PM.
          "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
          sigpic
          The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

          Comment


          • #6
            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).
            Career Fire Captain
            Volunteer Chief Officer


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

            Comment


            • #7
              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.

              Comment


              • #8
                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, 05:07 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  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.
                  -------------------
                  "The most mediocre man or woman can suddenly seem dynamic, forceful, and decisive if he or she is mean enough." from "Crazy Bosses"
                  -----------------------------------------------
                  Genius has its limits, but stupidity is boundless.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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.
                    AJ, MICP, FireMedic
                    Member, IACOJ.
                    FTM-PTB-EGH-DTRT-RFB-KTF
                    This message has been made longer, in part from a grant from the You Are a Freaking Moron Foundation.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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?
                      Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
                      Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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.
                        AJ, MICP, FireMedic
                        Member, IACOJ.
                        FTM-PTB-EGH-DTRT-RFB-KTF
                        This message has been made longer, in part from a grant from the You Are a Freaking Moron Foundation.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          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 .............
                          IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
                          Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
                          ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
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                          LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
                          I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
                          "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
                          http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            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.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              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.

                              Comment

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