That “Evil” Social Media strikes the Fire Service again!

Fire CriticEven The Fire Critic (link) himself is not immune!

According to a post on the Fire Critic Face Book Page, his place of employment has dropped a “Social Media Policy” on it’s members.

In the post, he brings up several valid points and brought a few to my mind as well.

First off I’ll say that it doesn’t appear that he (The Fire Critic) was involved in developing / writing the policy. I find that hard to believe and can only surmise that there must be some ego involved somewhere.

Think of it this way…. is one of the largest Fire Service web sites  in the Country! It is, without doubt; the largest Firefighter ran blog.

He has nearly 140,000 followers on Face Book page alone. He is very active on Twitter and Instagram. Daily hits on are off the chart and he is one of the best at producing participation, interaction,  commenting etc with his posts. In Fire Service terms, he is a SOCIAL MEDIA GURU!

He travels the Country speaking and teaching about Social Media. He speaks on the important / positive uses of Social Media for both Departments and individual members. He speaks of both the positive and negative applications and offers insight on developing policies. WHY WOULD HIS DEPARTMENT NOT ASK FOR HIS ASSISTANCE / ADVICE / INPUT ON DEVELOPING A NEW POLICY?

Having attended several of his presentations, I know that he always speaks of one of the issues he brought to light (in his post) concerning his Department’s new policy.

His interpretation of the Policy leads him (and me) to believe that the Department seems to think there is a problem with it’s members posting to Social Media. He doesn’t see it that way. Knowing his Department, I don’t either. I can remember a single instance when a member of that Department posted a picture of a patient from the back of an ambulance.

That member / issue was handled (as it should have been). As The Fire Critic states, THAT’S A PERSONNEL ISSUE…NOT A SOCIAL MEDIA ISSUE!  Here’s one of the 60+ comments found on his FB post….




FC Social Media Policy postThere are several good points in his post and (as mentioned) more than 60 comments.

Several of the comments seemed to focus on Helmet Cams and, although included in the policy; was not the focal point of the Critic’s post. His intent was to focus on the entire policy. The comments on the post are worth reading though.

Seemingly simple and harmless things could be banned / prohibited in such a policy. Listing yourself as a member (or employee) of a Department, Company photos, personal photos in Department shirts / hat, apparatus / equipment photos, etc, etc, etc. Also, keep in mind that Social Media is more than Helmet Cams, and Face Book. You have to consider web sites, blogs, Twitter, Instagram etc.

Should wearing a helmet cam or snapping photos for personal use be prohibited or just “posting” the data captured on such devices to a “Social Media” site? How about sharing someones else’s images or video? Maybe a citizen’s or bystander?

If postings require “approval”, then what’s that procedure? Is there any documentation for such approval, any criteria? Two, three or four months down the road, how will a member validate that a posting was “approved”? Why was one photo approved for a member and a similar one rejected for another?

A Social Media Policy can create a lot of “grey areas”, even when written correctly. They (the policies) also open the floor for a lot of healthy debate and bring to light many valid points / concerns.

  • Does your Department have a problem with member use of Social Media? (Please, share examples… was it a Social Media problem or personnel issue?)
  • Does YOUR Department even have a Social Media Policy? If so, what do you like and dislike about it?
  • If your Department doesn’t have a policy…. should it? If so, what would you have it include?

Find The Fire Critic on Face Book HERE on Face Book HERE

Stay SAFE and in House!

Captain Wines