Category Archives: Philadelphia Fire Department

Fire Death in Philadelphia:Smoke Detectors the only answer?


On February 24th, 2013 at around 11:30 PM  Firefighters from the city of Philadelphia responded to an alarm in the Southwest part of the city.  They were met with heavy fire showing on the first floor of a row home.  As always they acted quickly to douse the flames and save anyone inside.  Tragically one man on the second floor died in the fire and two escaped with injuries.  Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers took to the airwaves to tell the story and predictably he came up with the most obvious answer.

If there had been smoke detectors this man would be alive today.  Bravo Commissioner for stating the obvious.  But what about the cause of the fire.  Before you can claim that a working smoke detector could have saved a life there were so many other factors that led up to this tragedy.

The home had been divided up into five separate apartments, described in the news video from NBC 10 as a boarding house. Was this compartmentalization legally done? If there a record of this being an apartment building?  Remember that potentially five or more people could have roomed here. The owner of this building also let the heater, which according to the news reports was an oil heater, stop working.  Another negative to the situation.

As reported by the news the electrical box was “a mess”.  So what we may have here is an overloaded electrical service device bought on by the renters having to use portable electric heaters.  Just one heater requires a 15 Amp breaker.  If all five tenants had one heater we are talking 75% of the total load on a 100 Amp box.  Unless this home was upgraded to a larger box to accommodate the multiple tenants the die was cast long before  the failure to put smoke detectors in each unit.

To make matters worse the Smoke detector system (actually Fire Detection) in an apartment building is required to be integrated to alert all residence.  Individual smoke alarms would not be enough or legal.

The Fire Commissioner should be talking about ensuring proper living conditions for residents and quit blaming the lack of smoke detectors.  The problems of the poor in the city go way beyond the presence of a device.

Eight fire deaths this year already.  The city is on it’s way to 48.  That would be tragic as is each untimely fire death.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Philadelphia Fire Department

Lloyd Ayers: The Philadelphia Fire Department Deception


I would like you to watch the worst testimony ever heard before a governing body.  The man you are about to watch is Lloyd Ayers he is reportedly the Commissioner of the Philadelphia Fire Department. I don’t think he is qualified to be a sewer cleaner.  No offense to the men and women in the city that actually do work in the city sewers.

Did you notice that he argued that familiarity with the run was not important?  The senior guy was unimportant.  The runs are preplanned.  But the learning curve for an entire fire local is not one year.  It may not even be two years.  But Lloyd being the bullshitter he is then says it is about familiarity with schools, businesses and  hospitals.  We  you don’t get familiar by moving people around.  One hospital is not the same as another but there are plenty of hospitals.  Who would you as a citizen want coming to your fire.  I guy who just got assigned with two other guys who might not be familiar with your home or office, or a team lead by a tenured firefighter who has been in the building numerous times and knows the layout like the back of their hand?

What Ayers is proposing is unprecedented in the fire service.  Transferring the most senior firefighters is a dangerous and frankly stupid thing to do.  Ayers looked like a fool in that video.   Now watch as a city council member just blows the commissioner out of the water.

Amazing isn’t it.  No former commissioner nor Fire Service leaders from other cities think this is a great idea.  If fact as the councilman is dumbfounded by the logic of this plan. Why you ask?  Because nothing in this plan is motivated to help the citizens of Philadelphia. Watch that first video again.  Listen as he chooses his words.  He is making it up as he goes along.  But what is really scary about Ayers and I guess his boss Michael Nutter (since Nutter keeps him in position) is they think they can drive fire from the city of Philadelphia.  No really they do.  Listen to Lloyd on the first video again,  Yes I know it is painful to watch the man talk but go back and listen to his logic about the partnership between citizen and the fire department.  He thinks he can drive the fire load to zero!  That line of thought alone give me reason to wonder about his ability to be a fire service administrator.

Fire is a random act.  A loose wire, a faulty switch or  a smoker who falls asleep.  You will never get the fire load to zero.  Lloyd KNOWS this but he pitches the lie that you can by education reduce the fire load to zero.  The reality is much of the really old housing stock in Philadelphia is burned out and since there are no new Highway projects (See the 1970’s and the second street corridor)  the fire load is down.  But to assume by moving firefighters around the city and doing more community outreach you can reduce the danger to the citizens is nothing short of foolhardy!

I once worked in the slowest section of Philadelphia when it came to fires.  Guess what area had the highest death rate?  Yep  the slow section of the city.

Lloyd Ayers is making up a false sense of fire safety by trying to tell you that he can reduce your chances of a fire to ZERO!  He is doing a head fake to get his way to punish the Firefighters for calling him on his poor leadership and absolute lack of knowledge.  Lloyd was not appointed because he was a great leader. He was appointed because he has influential friends and holds his position for the same SAD reason.

11 Comments

Filed under Firefighters, Government, Philadelphia Fire Department, Uncategorized

Lloyd Ayers has a great idea!


Well not really but for some reason he sure thought it was a good one.  It was also one he pulled before.  In December 2011 Ayers announced mass transfers of the Philadelphia Fire Department Medics.  Now the same misguided hatred of the members of Local 22 has extended to the Firefighters also.

On November 1 2012 Commissioner Lloyd Ayers Issued General Memorandum #12-134  Here is that GM.

PHILADELPHIA FIRE DEPARTMENT
HEADQUARTERS
GENERAL MEMORANDUM #12-134 November 1, 2012
TO : All Officers and Members
REF/AUTHORITY : Deputy Commissioner Operations / Fire Commissioner
SUBJECT : FIREFIGHTER ROTATION – 2013
The Department will initiate an annual Firefighter (FF) rotation process that will facilitate the reassignment of approximately 15-20% of FF’s annually. This process will result in most FF’s serving in any given assignment for approximately five years. This change will ensure that all FF’s have equal opportunity to work in various assignments and acquire diverse skills. Rotation of FF’s will enhance their ability to achieve greater opportunities to facilitate upward mobility through the ranks, if desired. Additionally, by ensuring that all FF’s serve at least one rotation in the busiest battalions during their career, the on-the-job training that results from experience is more likely to occur.
This year’s rotation will include: 156 FF’s who have been in their current assignment for 10 years or more, 57 FF’s of Classes #183 and #184 who are in the same assignment since graduation, and 40 members from each of the graduating classes #186 and #187. The 2013 rotation will encompass 293 members.
The following year will include FF’s who have been in their current assignment for 8 years or more, members of classes #185 and Alpha Class who are in the same assignment since graduation and the remaining 80 members of classes #186 and #187.
This process of opening up assignments by including groups of FF’s with 5 years of service in the same assignment and those with less than 5 years of service will provide a sustainable model that will ensure that the average assignment duration for all FF’s will last approximately 5 years. This will ensure that all members have equal access to the assignments that they deem most preferable to them. Additionally, the Department will benefit from a wider number of FF’s with diverse experiences and opportunities to impact on Fire Prevention, Community Risk Reduction, and participate in the time-tested on-the-job training that enhances personnel development.
All rotating members must submit a memorandum through channels to Car 2’s Office, listing five (5) separate company choices (members should not list the same assignment with a different platoon choice [if applicable] for their next assignment). Members may elect to list their current assignment as a choice but should realize that the purpose of this rotation is to open up assignment opportunities and making such a choice would be considered a low priority for this process. The lists of assignment choices for this rotation are attached. All new assignments will not take effect until after January 1, 2013.
RESPONSIBILITY
It is the responsibility of all Company Officers/Unit Heads to ensure that all members under their command who are scheduled for rotation submit the required memorandum. Members are to list their five (5) choices in order of preference. Members will also list all previous assignments with the most recent listed first. All memos are due by 1700 hours, November 30, 2012. The Department will attempt to accommodate as many requests as possible with the goal of ensuring more members are afforded the opportunity to work in various areas of the city.
LLOYD AYERS
FIRE COMMISSIONER

These lame arguments about training are the same ones used when the Medics got transferred.  Here was Deputy Commissioner Ernie Hargett in December 2011 in a CBS report. “We thought it was good employee development to allow people to move around and work in different parts of the city.”   Obviously the folks at 3rd and Spring garden have not been listening to the fire radio much.  There is not a medic in the city that has not been dispatched to the other end of the city.  That is if there are units available.  So why do this again?

Simple,  Commissioner Ayers is upset that the people he presumes to lead don’t like his style or manner.  In fact he was so upset about the members telling folks that they were being put in harm’s way by the Ayers/Nutter plan for the department that he issued a different memo banning them from saying on any social media other than LinkedIn that they were proud members of the Philadelphia Fire Department.

So whats the big deal?  Well first of all many members have worked for years to get to a station they really wanted.  Once there they stay and learn everything about the area they work.  Shortcuts, Dead Ends, and buildings too.  These firefighters earned the name “Senior” firefighter. This is an informal term used by the firefighters for the guy who is the informal teacher and leader of the company.  He is also the confidant to the officer.  The guy who give the officer the heads up on each member making the once every three-year transition to a new officer smoother for everybody.  His knowledge and experience is the basis of the training for any new firefighter that comes into the company.

Ayers misguided plan is to transfer every senior firefighter from every station in the city.  The guy who can guide the truck to your house faster.  The guy who steadies the ship. If you look at the memo you will see that same comment about training.  But let me demonstrate the stupidity of this plan.

I know a firefighter who has been at his company over 10 years.  He lives close to the firehouse and is nearing the end of his career.  His name appears on the list of members that Lloyd wants to transfer.  Now for the record he does not work in what is a busy station.  This of course is by design.  He is ready to retire and wants to go quietly.  But under Commissioner Ayers plan he will need to transfer and somebody else will be put in that spot for “training”.  I can tell you from first hand experience this is not the place to go if you want vast experience in firefighting.  The local is a complex one with many tricky roads and other obstacles.  The new guy won’t know this.  That beibng said many of these members don’t want to leave these stations  they are there because they want to be.  Obviously Lloyd Ayers doesn’t!

This plan puts the people of Philadelphia if more danger than they already are.  It will as Union President Bill Gault said about the similar medic transfers, increase response times.  Time you need in a fire situation.

Moral in the department might bottom out, but this author is sure that is the intent of Commissioner Ayers.  He cares nothing about his men only his soiled reputation.  No amount of transfers will ever raise Lloyd to the level of some of the best commissioners the Philadelphia Fire Department ever knew.  In fact  I am pretty sure he just locked up the worst fire commissioner in the country with this move.

Let’s call him and tell him he is wrong again  215-686-1300.

5 Comments

Filed under Philadelphia Fire Department, Uncategorized

An Honor for a Brave Act


It took the City Council of Philadelphia to do what the Fire Administration should have done in July.  On September 20th the City Council of Philadelphia proclaimed Fran Cheney and in an additional comment the entire city fire department heroes.

It is tragic, though, that the ineffectual leadership of the department could not see its way clear to give Fran Cheney a medal for the heroic act he performed.  In case you are not up to speed on the story.  Cheney and three other firefighters had a building fall on them.  Cheney and another firefighter were pulled from the rubble alive.  Two good men lost their lives in that warehouse fire.  To most people having a building fall on you might make you a bit gun-shy.  But not the vast majority of the Philadelphia Fire Department.  Just months later Engine 61 with Firefighter Cheney on board responded to a house fire.  Cheney and the team were informed that there were still people inside.   With no ladder on location yet Cheney ran into the building and up the steps to find a distraught and disoriented woman in a bedroom.  At this point we need to be clear about something.  Firefighters are taught to never give up their air supply.  But in the real world and in the face of a victim who might make it even harder to help due to panic, Cheney made a quick decision.  Just one flight of steps and the door.  He removed his mask and placed it on the woman and walked her out.  In the process Cheney did suffer from some effects of smoke in inhalation and was treated at a local hospital overnight.

As many of the PFD family know what happened in that emergency room was nothing short of a travesty.  A senior official of the department visited with the injured firefighter.  It has been customary for the fire commissioner to visit injured members and I knew of many who never failed at that.  But it seems that Fran Cheney wasn’t worth the commissioners time.  He sent his second to check on Cheney.  You would expect a slap on the back and great job, but that never happened.  What did was that the fire official told Cheney what he did was stupid.

To this day there has been no official recognition from the Philadelphia Fire Department of that July 4th event.  I am sure though they felt the heat from the citizens as Cheney was not transferred like other members who have been injured.  This being the form of punishment for going above and beyond that Lloyd Ayers and his team like to dole out.  So Cheney returned to his station and back to his job.

The woman he saved was a young mother and she wanted to personally thank the Firefighter who saved her and with news cameras rolling she came to the Firehouse and Castor and Kensington Avenues.  As she thanked Cheney he produced an envelope and gave it to the woman.  He told her she needed it more than  him.  Inside the envelope was his overtime payment for the day he saved her.  The mark of a good man is compassion, Cheney in that one moment showed he is a good man and the right guy to honor as the City Council of Philadelphia did on September 20th, 2012.  Here is the citation from Council

 

City of Philadelphia
– 1 –
Council of the City of Philadelphia
Office of the Chief Clerk
Room 402, City Hall
Philadelphia
(Resolution No. 120662)
RESOLUTION
Honoring the extraordinary, heroic efforts of Firefighter Francis Cheney of the Philadelphia Fire Department’s Ladder 10.
WHEREAS, In the morning hours of July 4, the crew of Engine 61 responded to a fire alarm at a burning rowhome in the neighborhood of Lawncrest. Firefighter Cheney entered the smoke-filled home and found a woman trapped on the second floor. When it was evident she was in distress, he ripped off his air mask and gave it to her before carrying her outside to safety. Cheney then spent the night at Temple University Hospital in order to receive treatment for smoke inhalation. He later donated his overtime pay to help the woman and her family rebuild their lives; and
WHEREAS, This heroic episode is not an isolated incident, but comes less than three months after Firefighter Cheney was injured in the five-alarm fire on April 9 at an abandoned warehouse in Kensington. Cheney was inspecting the furniture building adjacent to the warehouse when the wall and roof began to fall. He was buried in the rubble but managed to dig himself out. Firefighter Patrick Nally from Ladder 16, who was buried up to his waist, was also pulled from the rubble. Lt. Robert Neary and Firefighter David Sweeney, also from Ladder 10, did not survive the incident; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, That Firefighter Francis Cheney is hereby recognized and honored for his extraordinary, heroic efforts as a member of the Philadelphia Fire Department’s Ladder 10. With this resolution we also honor all our brave firefighters. This legislative body wants to show its appreciation to them during these difficult days of injury and loss.
FURTHER RESOLVED, That an Engrossed copy of this resolution be presented to Firefighter Francis Cheney as evidence of the sincere sentiments of this legislative body.
City of Philadelphia
RESOLUTION NO. 120662 continued
City of Philadelphia
– 2 –
CERTIFICATION: This is a true and correct copy of the original Resolution, Adopted by the Council of the City of Philadelphia on the thirteenth of September, 2012.
Darrell L. Clarke
PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL
Michael A. Decker
CHIEF CLERK OF THE COUNCIL
Introduced by:
Councilmembers Kenney, Squilla and O’Neill
Sponsored by:
Councilmembers Kenney, Squilla, O’Neill, Oh, Johnson, Quiñones Sánchez, Goode, Greenlee, O’Brien, Jones, Reynolds Brown, Henon and Tasco

Shame on the Administration presiding at 3rd and Spring Garden and good job to the men and women of the Philadelphia Fire Department who, in the face of a vindictive Commissioner and a Mayor who refuses to adhere to a binding arbitration award, continue to save lives and put out the fires.

Leave a comment

Filed under Philadelphia Fire Department

Letter to Philadelphia


As a disclaimer, I will say ,I have no idea who wrote this.  I am certain the author is who he says he is.  But to point out one of the men and women as the author, even if I knew ,could lead to them getting fired due to the Commissioners unconstitutional muzzling of the members of the Philadelphia Fire Department.  Share this with everyone you know.  Make the call!
Dear Citizens of Philadelphia,
Let me start by thanking you for allowing me to serve and protect you.
I am a proud Philadelphia Firefighter. I love this job, this City and the people whom I serve. Philly is made up of a diverse mix of cultures, religions and orientations, an experience I enjoy immensely. I’m writing to you personally because the Philadelphia Firefighters need your help desperately!! Our Mayor, Michael Nutter is using our safety and yours, as a political pawn in a very dangerous game of Russian Roulette. The Mayor and his administration are trying to run the PFD as if it were a business. We all know public safety is NOT a business, in fact it’s more like an insurance policy. Hopefully you will never need it but it’s there when you do. He is placing thousands of you at risk every day and every night with his policy of “brown outs”. “Brown outs” mean certain fire trucks are closed for that day or night. Therefore when you go to bed at night you cannot be sure that your closest Fire truck is available. Which then means the next closest truck will be coming. That can add up to minutes that you are waiting for help. If you think it’s no big deal try this exercise: turn your oven on 500 degrees. Blindfold yourself and climb inside. See if 90 seconds makes a difference then. The Mayor is also placing Firefighters and Citizens in danger by having unqualified people at the head of the department simply because they are politically “connected”. Car 2 or second in command of the entire Fire Department has never been in charge of a Fire as a Battalion Chief or a Deputy Chief and has only very limited experience as a Lieutenant and Captain! Is this the guy you want making life or death decisions regarding you or your children? It’s obvious Mr. Nutter has no respect for public safety. He made that quite clear when he appointed Everette Gillison as director of Public Safety. Mr. Gillsison has ZERO experience in safety! In fact Mr. Gillison was a public defender (an attorney) it baffles me why Mayor Nutter would place an attorney in charge of Public Safety. The Fire Department has let many highly educated people with enormous amounts of experience retire and walk away, only to take their education and experience to other cities. Education and experience that you the tax payers paid for! Those are the people that should be in charge of your safety. Those are the people that should be running the Fire Department after all the Citizens of Philadelphia paid for their education and experience, it only makes sense to retain the best and brightest. The Mayor and his cronies are trying to demonize Philadelphia Firefighters, claiming we are only concerned with our lack of a contract and accusing us of being overtime mongers. The truth of the situation is we were awarded a modest contract by an independent arbitrator, that award was appealed by Mayor Nutter and again awarded, by an independent arbitrator. All of this doesn’t sit well with Mr. Nutter because the Firefighters union did not endorse him during either of his mayoral campaigns. This is political warfare at its lowest. Michael Nutter is placing his political agenda ahead of the safety of Philadelphia citizens and Firefighters. He and his cronies are trying to mislead you with conjured up figures and statistics. The cold hard truth is: this is a political game for Nutter. When Mr. Nutter was a City Councilman he himself was a huge advocate for the Fire Department and is on record many times criticizing former Mayor Street for attempting to close firehouses. I’m pleading with you to call the Mayors office and your city council members office and demand an end to brown outs and a new qualified leadership in the Fire Department. We all work for YOU. Including the Mayor and City Council. Please voice your demands and be an advocate for your safety and that of your loved ones.

CALL MAYOR NUTTER AND COUNCILMEMBERS TODAY!

Mayor Nutter 215-686-2181

Council At Large

Blondell Reynolds Brown 215-686-3438 blondell.reynolds.brown@phila.gov

William Greenlee 215-686-3446 william.greenlee@phila.gov

Wilson Goode Jr. 215-686-3414 wilson.goode@phila.gov

David Oh 215-686-3452 david.oh@phila.gov

James Kenny 215-686-3450 james.kenney@phila.gov

Bill Green 215-686-3420 bill.green@phila.gov

Dennis O’Brien 215-686-3440 dennis.o’brien@phila.gov

1st District Mark Squilla 215-686-3458 mark.squilla@phila.gov

2nd District Kenyatta Johnson 215-686-3412 kenyatta.johnson@phila.gov

3rd District Jannie Blackwell 215-686-3418 jannie.l.blackwell@phila.gov

4th District Curtis Jones, Jr 215-686-3416 curtis.jones@phila.gov

5th District Darrell Clarke 215-686-3442 darrell.clarke@phila.gov

6th District Bobby Henon 215-686-3444 bobby.hennon@phila.gov

7th District Maria Sanchez 215-686-3448 maria.q.sanchez@phila.gov

8th District Cindy Bass 215-686-3424 cindy.bass@phila.gov

9th District Marian Tasco 215-686-3454 marian.tasco@phila.gov

10th District Brian O’Neill 215-686-3422 brian.oneill@phila.gov

Leave a comment

Filed under Philadelphia Fire Department

Police vs Fire: It’s Tone!


In the interest of furthering the argument that the Fire Administration in the city of Philadelphia is focused solely on controlling the argument about the treatment of its members, the following should add perspective.  I will now post the Directive issued by Police Chief Ramsey and the GM from Commissioner Ayers.  Red through and be amazed at the difference.

First the Police

PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT DIRECTIVE 119
(05-26-11)
SUBJECT: SOCIAL MEDIA AND NETWORKING
______________________________________________________________________________
I. PURPOSE
A. To establish a policy regarding use of social media and social networking by sworn and unsworn members of the Philadelphia Police Department.
B. The Philadelphia Police Department endorses the secure use of social media to enhance communication, collaboration, and information exchange; streamline processes; and  foster productivity. This policy establishes this department’s position on the utility and management of social media and provides guidance on its management, administration, and oversight.
C. In so doing, this policy sets forth expectations of police department employees with respect to their use of social media and social networking, and the direct effect such use has upon the reputation, perception and interests of the Philadelphia Police Department
and its employees.
D. As advances in technology are constantly emerging, this policy is intended to address social media in general, rather than singular form of social media or networking.
______________________________________________________________________________
II. BACKGROUND
A. Social media provides a contemporary and potentially valuable means of assisting the department and its personnel in meeting several police strategies, including, but not limited to, community outreach, problem-solving, investigations and crime prevention.
Social media also plays a significant role in the personal lives of numerous department employees. However, it must be formally and universally recognized that the personal use of social media has the potential to impact the department as a whole, as well as individual members serving in their official capacity. As such, this policy provides information of a precautionary nature as well as prohibitions on the use of social media by department personnel.
B. As members of the Philadelphia Police Department, employees are embodiments of its mission. It is, thus, essential that each member accept his or her role as an ambassador of the department. In doing so, each member must strive to maintain public trust and
confidence, not only in his or her professional capacity, but also in his or her personal and on-line activities. Moreover, as police personnel are necessarily held to a higher
DIRECTIVE 119 – 1
DIRECTIVE 119 – 2
standard than general members of the public, the on-line activities of employees of the police department shall reflect such professional expectations and standards.
______________________________________________________________________________
III. DEFINITIONS
A. For the purpose of this policy, the following definitions apply:
1. Social Media: On-line sources that allow people to communicate, share, and/or exchange information with others via some form of on-line or cellular network platform. Information may include, but is not limited to, text, photographs, video, audio, and other multimedia files.
2. Social Networking: Involves using such Internet or mobile formats as MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Usenet groups, message or on-line bulletin boards, blog and other similarly developed formats, to communicate with others using the same groups while also networking with other users based upon similar interests, geographical location, skills, occupation, ideology, beliefs, etc.
3. Internet: A computer network consisting of a worldwide network of computer networks that use the TCP / IP network protocols to facilitate data transmission and exchange.
4. Post (noun): An item inserted into a blog, or an entry to any type of computerized bulletin board, forum or social media site.
5. Post (verb): The act of creating, uploading, editing or adding to any social media outlet. This includes text, photographs, audio, video or any other multimedia file.
6. Blog: A series of entries, written by either one person or a group of people, in an online journal, usually posted in chronological order, like a diary. Blogs can allow or disallow comments on entries.
7. Comments: Responses to a blog post, news article, social media entry or other social networking post.
______________________________________________________________________________
IV. POLICY
A. It is the policy of the Philadelphia Police Department that all existing laws, rules, regulations, and directives that govern on- and off-duty conduct are applicable to conduct associated with social media and networking.
DIRECTIVE 119 – 3
B. When engaging in social networking, employees will strictly adhere to any and all of the following:
1. Existing federal, state, and local laws.
2. Policies of the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Police Department.
3. Laws regarding public information on arrests, investigations, and personnel data.
C. Employees are prohibited from using their status as members of the police department to endorse any product or service without prior written permission from the Police Commissioner or his/her designee.
D. Employees are prohibited from posting images of police personnel working in an undercover capacity or identifying such personnel as law enforcement officers.
E. Employees are prohibited from using City of Philadelphia or Philadelphia Police Department property (on- or off-duty) to engage in personal use of social media.
1. For the purpose of this policy, City and Police Department property includes, but is not limited to, desk-top computers, lap-top computers, cell phones, hand-held digital or electronic devices (e.g., Blackberry phones), and digital storage media.
F. While in on-duty status, employees are prohibited from using privately-owned property to engage in personal use of social media.
G. Employees who are off-duty, and using privately-owned property to engage in the personal use of social media, do not represent the City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Police Department, or any official position maintained by either entity. Under such
conditions, employees represent only themselves and their personal interests.
H. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy when engaging in social networking online. As such, the content of social networking websites may be obtained for use in criminal trials, civil proceedings, and departmental investigations.
______________________________________________________________________________
V. GENERAL CATEGORIES OF SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE
A. The Philadelphia Police Department recognizes two general categories of social media usage among employees:
1. Department-Authorized Use of Social Media.
2. Personal Use of Social Media.
DIRECTIVE 119 – 4
B. Department-Authorized Use of Social Media:
1. Department-authorized use of social media is defined as the employment of such instruments for the specific purpose of assisting the department and its personnel in community outreach, problem-solving, investigation, crime prevention, and other department-related objectives.
2. In addition to the rules and regulations set forth in Section IV of this directive, the following provisions shall apply to department-authorized use of social media.
a. Police department employees seeking to represent the department via social media outlets (e.g., individual or unit web page, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.) shall obtain express permission from the Police Commissioner or his/ her designee, prior to engaging in such activity.
b. Upon obtaining authorization, when engaging in social media networking, employees shall:
i. Properly identify themselves as a member of the department.
NOTE: In instances whereby proper identification poses a risk to officer safety or may impede the progress of a criminal  investigation, employees, with permission from the Police Commissioner or his/her designee may exclude department membership from their profiles.
ii. At all times, conduct themselves as representatives of the department and, accordingly, adhere to all department policies and standards of conduct, and observe conventionally accepted protocols and proper decorum.
iii. Observe and abide by all copyright, trademark, and service mark restrictions in posting materials to electronic media.
iv. Observe and abide by all existing City of Philadelphia information systems policies, including, but not limited to, “Internet Use and Access” and “Electronic Mail and Messaging.”
c. When engaging in department-authorized social media networking, department employees shall not under any circumstances:
i. Make statements about the guilt or innocence of any suspect or arrestee, or comments concerning pending prosecutions.
DIRECTIVE 119 – 5
ii. Post, transmit, or otherwise disseminate confidential information, including photographs or videos related to department training, activities, investigations, or any other work-related assignment, without specific and express written permission from the Police Commissioner or his/her designee.
iii. Conduct political activities or private business.
C. Personal Use of Social Media:
1. Personal use of social media is defined as engagement or participation in any personal social networking platform, including but not limited to, personally-owned sites, the sites of others (both known and unknown to the employee), news media pages, professional sites unaffiliated with the Philadelphia Police Department, or other information exchange forums.
2. In addition to the rules and regulations set forth in Section IV of this directive, the following provisions shall apply to personal use of social media while off-duty and using privately-owned property.
a. Employees shall neither express nor imply that they are; – speaking or acting on behalf of the police department.
– representing or presenting the interests of the police department.
b. Employees shall not use their rank, title, or position in a manner that would suggest that they are representing the interests or official position of the police department.
c. Employees shall not post any depiction or illustration of the Official Seal of the City of Philadelphia, or the Philadelphia Police Department name, badge, logo, patch, or patrol vehicle, so as to give the appearance of an official site of the City of Philadelphia or the Philadelphia Police Department.
d. In addition to the above provisions, when engaging in personal use of social media, employees shall not post any text, photograph, audio, video, illustration, or any other multimedia file related to, or depicting, any of the following:
i. Current, past, or pending departmental investigation.
ii. Criminal or civil proceeding pertaining to or arising from any matter
involving the department, including allegations of misconduct.
DIRECTIVE 119 – 6
iii. Brandishing of any weaponry (city-owned or privately-owned; actual or simulated), or any contraband (actual or simulated).
iv. Brandishing of tactical instruments (both city-owned and privately-owned), including but not limited to firearm, ASP, baton, OC spray, Electronic Control Weapon (ECW), and mechanical restraints.
______________________________________________________________________________
BY COMMAND OF THE POLICE COMMISSIONER

That is pretty clear and was issued in May.  Funny there are parts of the PFD memo that do not appear in this one.  Now on to the screed from Commissioner Ayers.

PHILADELPHIA FIRE DEPARTMENT
HEADQUARTERS
August 1, 2012
GENERAL MEMORANDUM # 12 -80
TO : All Officers and Members
REF/AUTHORITY : Special Investigations Officer/Fire Commissioner
SUBJECT : SOCIAL MEDIA AND NETWORKING GUIDELINES
The use of Social Media and electronic transmissions has become challenging for fire departments and their personnel throughout the country (e.g., Facebook, My Space, Twitter, YouTube, online blogs, email, texting etc.). The proper use of Social Media can be beneficial to the department, employees, and the public. However, improper use can potentially undermine the confidence of the public in the integrity of the Fire Department and its employees. There is no presumption of privacy when information is posted on Social Media websites and/or transmitted electronically. As per Directive #25, Discipline Policy, uniformed members of all ranks are expected to conduct themselves in a credible manner at all times, both on and off duty.
The Philadelphia Fire Department has recently developed a comprehensive Social Media Policy, which will be forthcoming in the near future. In the meantime, it is necessary to provide guidelines on the use of Social Media and electronic transmissions, and remind members of current department polices.
Effective immediately, all officers and members will adhere to the guidelines listed below on the use of Social Media and electronic transmissions both on and off duty.
Social Media Guidelines
• Employees are prohibited from using City of Philadelphia or Philadelphia Fire Department property to engage in personal use of social media.
• While in on-duty status, employees are prohibited from using privately-owned property to engage in personal use of social media. The only exception will be to engage in reasonable and necessary emailing or texting (e.g., text or email from a teacher/child care provider, or family member regarding an emergency).
• Employees shall not identify themselves as a member of the Philadelphia Fire Department on any Social Media and Networking site without prior approval of the Fire Commissioner. The only exception will be a professional networking site (e.g. LinkedIn). Postings will only pertain to professional networking and development.
• The use of cellular/mobile phones is prohibited while driving any department apparatus, responding to or operating on any incident scene, performing official duties, and during training (practical or classroom). The only exception will be for
official communication (e.g., to contact Fire Communications, chain of command or medical command).
• The use of recording devices—camera, video recorder, audio recorder, cell phone or any device with audio and video recorder applications—is prohibited while on-duty and/or at any incident scene without prior approval from the Fire Commissioner. The only exceptions are those persons/units (Visual Communications Unit, Prevention, and Fire Marshal’s Office etc.) authorized to do so. Under no circumstances will photo images, video, or audio of any incident scene, patients, bystanders, or first responders be posted on line.
• Employees are prohibited from posting on any Social Media site or electronically transmitting any information regarding the transport, treatment, or condition of any patient. This includes employees/members who were provided care and or transportation to a medical facility.
• Employees shall not post on any Social Media site or electronically transmit any electronic recordings (photo images, video, or audio) of Philadelphia Fire Department property or on-duty responses/activities without written approval from the Fire Commissioner.
• Employees are prohibited from posting on any Social Media site or electronically transmitting messages, images, comments, or cartoons displaying threatening or sexually-explicit material, epithets or slurs based on race, ethnic or national origin, gender, religious affiliation, disability, or sexual orientation, and harassing, offensive, discriminatory, or defamatory comments.
• Employees are prohibited from posting on any Social Media site or electronically transmitting messages, images, comments, or cartoons that foster or perpetuate discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, age, religion, gender, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, national origin, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation.
• Employees shall not post any material on the internet or via electronic transmission that may adversely affect the efficiency or effective operation of the department.
• Employees shall not post on any Social Media site or electronically transmit any information that is inconsistent with the duties, ethics and Oath of Office of a firefighter or paramedic, such as racist or sexist comments, inaccurate information, personal attacks, or rumors.
• Employees shall not post any information or images involving off-duty activities that may bring a member’s or the department’s reputation into question.
• Employees shall not post any photo, image, or video of themselves wearing any part of the official Fire Department uniform or displaying any City equipment without approval from the Fire Commissioner. The only exception will be a professional networking site (e.g. LinkedIn).
• Employees shall not post on any Social Media site any depiction or illustration of the Official Seal of the City of Philadelphia, or the Philadelphia Fire Department name, badge, logo, patch, or vehicle, so as to give the appearance of an official site of the City of Philadelphia or the Philadelphia Fire Department.
• Employees are prohibited from posting on any Social Media site or electronically transmitting any information regarding a Fire Department incident, ongoing investigation, or pending litigation (both criminal and civil actions).
Responsibility
Division Chiefs will meet with their respective Battalion Chiefs to develop and implement a plan for Company Officers to conduct station exercises reviewing the policies listed below. Battalion Chiefs will coordinate with Company Officers to facilitate the review of policies, and ensure a roster sheet is prepared for each company indicating member has reviewed the listed policies. Platoon “D” Division Chiefs will consolidate all memos and forward to FPSC Jeremiah Laster, Special Investigations Officer by October 1, 2012. Unit Heads will follow the same procedure for their assigned members.
• City of Philadelphia Social Media Use Policy located on the “T” drive, Social Media Policy folder
• Directive #57, Fire Department Wide Area Network
• HIPPA Web Training PowerPoint presentation located on the “P” drive, “H” folder, HIPPA Central and Web Training folder.
• Directive # 25, Discipline Policy
Failure to comply with Social Media and Networking Guidelines may lead to disciplinary action being taken against a member/employee.
LLOYD AYERS
FIRE COMMISSIONER
______________________________________________________________________

The difference in tone is amazing.  Right down to the last line where Commissioner Ayers feels it important to not e that failure to comply with his opinions will result in Disciplinary action.  There are glaring additions to the PFD GM that have no place in a “guideline”.  Why did the police not feel it important to address race and other ethnic and social behaviors?

Both policies restrict the use of department insignias and to have prior permission to set up a social media site for units.  Yet somehow when you read through the two documents you get the feeling that Ramsey will allow units to run sites and if a fire company asks permission to run a site the scrutiny from Fire Commissioner Ayers (if he does not deny it outright) will be intense.

There you have it.  The difference between leadership and oppression.  Oh and if you are a member of the Fire Service in Philadelphia Please don’t like this blog.  I would hate to be responsible for you being punished for your opinion.  Which is what Ayers has set up.

One more important point, Ayers sites Directive #25 and then follows that with the statement that all members must conduct themselves in a credible manner.  It seems to me that Ayers is in violation of Directive #25 himself as his credibility is in the trash.

Leave a comment

Filed under Philadelphia Fire Department, Police, Uncategorized

Social Media takeover


Well the City of Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter and Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers have really stepped in it this time.  Lloyd has issued a General Memo prohibiting members from many activities on social media.  To be sure other employers have Social Media policies but the extent to which Ayers goes to silence any dissension  via social media.  How far will Ayers and by extension Mayor Nutter go?  How about this jewel.

• Employees shall not identify themselves as a member of the Philadelphia Fire Department on any Social Media and Networking site without prior approval of the Fire Commissioner. The only exception will be a professional networking site (e.g. LinkedIn). Postings will only pertain to professional networking and development.

I wonder if a retired guy like me needs Lloyd’s permission to say I was a Philadelphia Fire Fighter.  Think of the Pride these men and women have even in the face of such tepid leadership they still want to say they work for the PFD.    Maybe they should change their job information to “I work for a leaderless department”.  I know of no employer who ever banned their employees from saying they worked at the company.
Here are two of the funnier ones.  This idiot (Lloyd)  is telling members they may not on their own time post anything that “HE” might consider racist or biased in any way.

• Employees are prohibited from posting on any Social Media site or electronically transmitting messages, images, comments, or cartoons displaying threatening or sexually-explicit material, epithets or slurs based on race, ethnic or national origin, gender, religious affiliation, disability, or sexual orientation, and harassing, offensive, discriminatory, or defamatory comments.
• Employees are prohibited from posting on any Social Media site or electronically transmitting messages, images, comments, or cartoons that foster or perpetuate discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, age, religion, gender, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, national origin, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation.

This was a guy who was offended at seeing a mans nipple in a photograph (I don’t mean to make light of Jack but it is a prime example of the hypocrisy of Ayers)  and he now has the power to determine if a shared photo in Facebook is racially offensive? This from a guy who thinks the only reason the rank and file hate him is because he is black.  Sorry Lloyd your just a poor excuse for a leader.  As noted by the very overreaching GM you just issued about Social Media.  Let’s get back to the potentially court challenges GM from our listless commissioner.  How about this one?

• Employees shall not post on any Social Media site or electronically transmit any information that is inconsistent with the duties, ethics and Oath of Office of a firefighter or paramedic, such as racist or sexist comments, inaccurate information, personal attacks, or rumors.

SO if a firefighter thinks that Commissioner Lloyd Ayers is the worst Commissioner ever in the history of the PFD and says so on Facebook (note you the reader:  He is)  Lloyd can discipline him?  Because he thinks he is the best?  Or are the sycophants surrounding him convincing him it is okay and he is the best.   Either way this is a bad policy.  Enough beating up of Lloyd (well not really) lets compare our policy to another.  Let’s use the City of Hampton Virginia as an example of what a Social Media Policy should look like.  This is the part about employees using social networking.  Note the tone and compare it to the Ayers (re: Nutter) hate filled GM.

ATTACHMENT C. Employee Guidance for Participating in Social Networking
The City of Hampton understands that social networking and Internet services have become a common form of
communication in the workplace and among stakeholders and citizens. Social networks are online
communities of people or organizations that share interests and/or activities and use a wide variety of Internet
technology to make the interaction a rich and robust experience. Employees that choose to participate in social
networks as a City employee should adhere to the following guidelines.
1. City policies, rules, regulations and standards of conduct apply to employees that engage in
social networking activities while conducting City business. Use of your City e-mail address
and communicating in your official capacity will constitute conducting City business.
2. City employees shall notify their supervisor and the IT department if they intend to create a
social networking site or service to conduct City business.
3. Departments have the option of allowing employees to participate in existing social networking
sites as part of their job duties. Department Heads may allow or disallow employee
participation in any social networking activities in their departments.
4. Protect your privacy, the privacy of citizens, and the information the City holds. Follow all
privacy protection laws , i.e., HIPPA, and protect sensitive and confidential City information.
5. Follow all copyright laws, public records laws, retention laws, fair use and financial disclosure
laws and any others laws that might apply to the City or your functional area.
6. Do not cite vendors, suppliers, clients, citizens, co-workers or other stakeholders without their
approval.
7. Make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of the City of Hampton. If
you publish content on any website outside of the City of Hampton and it has something to do
with the work you do or subjects associated with the City, use a disclaimer such as this: “The
postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent the City’s positions or
opinions.”
8. Do not use ethnic slurs, profanity, personal insults, or engage in any conduct that would not be
acceptable in the City’s workplace. Avoid comments or topics that may be considered
objectionable or inflammatory.
9. If you identify yourself as a City employee, ensure your profile and related content is consistent
with how you wish to present yourself to colleagues, citizens and other stakeholders.
10. Correct your mistakes, and don’t alter previous posts without indicating that you have done so.
Frame any comments or opposing views in a positive manner.
11. Add value to the City of Hampton through your interaction. Provide worthwhile information and
perspective.

Refreshing in the light of how the Fire Administration handled it’s policy don’t you think.  You can read the entire Hampton Va policy here as it is a really good example of a forward thinking city who are using Social Media to promote city government.  Note their policy not only promotes use of the internet it only suggests to its employees to be careful.

Hey Lloyd I guess when you are losing the battle the best course is to silence the opposition.  Hae you read Alinsky’s rules for liberal?  Maybe somebody who pulls your strings did huh?

4 Comments

Filed under Philadelphia Fire Department