Fire Dept. social media policy goes too far

November 07, 2013

"Pride Protecting People" that is the motto displayed on the Baltimore City Fire Department patch. However, the department's social media policy is assisting with taking that "pride" away ("City Fire Department implements new social media policy," Nov. 2). I can agree with its basic premise — do your job and do no harm to the citizens we protect, and that this includes photos of people, addresses and license plate numbers. I must disagree with no photos of department-owned equipment, buildings and apparatus without express written consent.

How can you tell the very people who place their lives on the line that they can't take a picture of their crew next to their engine or in front of their firehouse? How can you deny a probationary firefighter a "selfie" standing next his or her apparatus on the first day on the job? What about the retiring chief who has spent many years having "Pride Protecting People?"

A person who has spent countless hours taking care of the battalion can't have a photo of a last day on the job? There are some companies that have websites depicting their "Pride" displaying their house, their shift, their apparatus. The current policy shuts this practice down. Go to a firehouse and look around. Look at the "Pride" in the photos displayed on the walls. Is this a tradition that needs to go by the wayside?

I have been a firefighter since 1987, and yes, these days you need a social media policy. However, should the policy remove "Pride?" Let's do our job, protect the citizens and please continue to have "Pride."

Douglas Brinkley

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