Helmet Cams on the Fireground: Part 1

Intro

Flight 214 burning as firefighters scramble to control the fire in the cabin.

Asiana Airlines Flight 214 from the Battalion Chief’s helmet cam.

Recently, there’s been a lot of media attention on the role of helmet cams in the fire service.   The ban on helmet cams by the San Francisco Fire Department following an incident that occurred during the response to the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 has garnered national attention:  Helmet cams: Should they be banned? – CBS News Video.

After being interviewed by a couple different news agencies about the usefulness and prevalence of firefighter helmet cams, it became clear that for such a hot topic, there is very little useful information on the subject.  Most of us know they’re being used, but for what purposes, exactly?  What are the risks?  Are they worth it?  What are the best practices for their use?

With all this attention, now seems like a good time to have a much needed discussion on these cameras.  Over the next few months, helmetcamfirefighter.com will be posting a series of articles that explore the pros and cons of fireground video, along with some best practices for helmet cam use.  We’ll also take a look at how and when not to use your camera, and how to avoid getting yourself or your department into trouble.  We’ll finish off the series in December, with a review of some existing SOPs and a sample SOP for you or your department to consider.

Attitudes

I think when most firefighters think about helmet cams, Continue reading