THE FIRE SERVICE HAS BEEN QUIETLY DEBATING THE USE OF HELMET CAMS FOR YEARS. But this year, a single incident (the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 in San Fransisco) moved the issue onto the radar of the national media.
The San Fransisco Fire Department’s ban on the use of helmet cams following the incident and somewhat fumbling attempts to defend the policy in the days after, gave the appearance that they hadn’t really thought this through very well. And to be fair, neither have most other departments; however, maybe this should serve as notice that an informed conversation about helmet cams is overdue.
But in order to do that, we need to first identify exactly what their value is to our profession. Having had a cam on my helmet since 2008, I’m definitely sold on the utility of the technology. For this article, I’ve organized the fire helmet cam’s most valuable uses into 4 major categories:
- Public Education
- Public Relations