Missing the Point. A Lesson in Social Media & Helmet Cameras

The other day, I cam across the video above. It is helmet camera video of a brush fire in Australia. I bookmarked it, but I didn’t watch it until this article popped up about the helmet camera video. It got me thinking. Read on for more of the article and more thoughts on usage of video.

Victorian firefighters told to focus on fires, not the footage

A volunteer firefighter from South Australia captured eight minutes of GoPro helmet-camera footage, providing viewers with a unique first-hand insight into the devastating Adelaide fires.

The footage, uploaded to YouTube by volunteer firey Ben Wilson, shows how difficult and chaotic firefighting can be.

CFA senior media officer Sonia Maclean said its firefighters’ main focus should be on fighting fires, not filming the action.

I couldn’t agree more. A firefighters focus SHOULD be on tasks oriented to their role on the scene of emergencies.

HOWEVER, the truth is that helmet cameras are hands free. They do not require anything once turned on. Set it and forget it.

So the real issue is uploading the video to YOUTUBE….right. After all, if you capture helmet camera video, no one will know about it until you show it to them.

The truth is that this video above has almost 300k views and does a great job at showing what these firefighters do. I think this is a much better example of what firefighters do than just leaving the lasting memory of seeing the fire engine at the grocery store every morning.

Chiefs are ill-prepared to showcase what firefighters do from their front seat at a desk. The use of helmet cameras can and will showcase the ins and outs of what we do on a regular basis.

What should be happening is firefighters should be issued cameras and the data collected should be used by departments to show what they do, how they do it, and why they do it. The San Bernardino County FD does an excellent job of utilizing footage from helmet cameras to showcase what their firefighters do on calls. I applaud them.

I have heard of other departments which outfit their firefighters with helmet cameras. After an incident, the Battalion Chief goes around and collects the SD cards. The footage is used internally to help the fire department become better and learn from what their firefighters are doing. An important thing I learned from this was that firefighters would not be reprimanded for actions caught on the footage. However, I feel certain that the Chief would use the footage to help make the department a safer place.

It is amazing that police departments are embracing POV cameras and fire departments are scared to death of them. It seems to me that we are years behind the police departments understanding of the capabilities of these cameras.



lesson learned