firefighters and twitter for reaction blog post.

Social Media Policy for City Fire Department

The new policy outlined by the Baltimore Fire Department restricts what firefighters can post on social media accounts, such as Twitter and Facebook, and their personal blogs. Under this policy, firefighters are not allowed to post any information about fire scenes. Fire Chief James S. Clack said the policy is meant to keep firefighters from sharing sensitive information and getting into trouble, but the department is getting lots of criticism from union leaders that claim the policy is trampling on First Amendment rights.

Outlined by the policy, any online chatter, even if firefighters post anonymously or while off-duty, is prohibited. Individual fire units can no longer maintain independent websites that outline their work in the communities they serve. Firefighters cannot take photos or record images of department property without express permission. The department also restricts the use of electronic devices while firefighters are on the job. Although, Clack states that the policy was implemented as a way to prevent sensitive information being posted, some of the firefighters believe the policy is the result of their online criticism of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Clack, and other city officials.

Restricting the firefighters from posting fire scenes could help keep the number of bystanders down to a minimum, but what else does this policy help with? Do you think each fire department and police departments across the nation should have social media policies? Or do you think all of the policies and regulations are keeping firefighters and officers from expressing their feeling and concerns about their daily lives?

All of us have used social media accounts to brag, vent, or complain about any number of things that happen to us on a daily basis. If we’re allowed that freedom, why can’t firefighters and cops experience the same? Do you think these social media policies are needed, or are they completely unnecessary?

Posted by Lindsay Page on Nov 05, 2012


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