Firefighters do have some time to kill when they're not out fighting fires, doing training or maintaining fire stations and equipment. So what's the harm in a little Facebook time?
Well, for starters, there's concern that it could distract from those bigger tasks at hand; hence a new policy from the Wichita Fire Department that says, in part: "Members are prohibited from accessing social networking sites, Internet dating sites, and sites that host weblogs while on duty that affects the efficiency and productivity of the Wichita Fire Department."
The policy also says: "Members shall not post any material on the Internet that may adversely affect the efficiency or integrity of the Wichita Fire Department."
Wichita station KSN TV says that while "fire union officials have no official comment on the new restrictions ... they have taken the issue to attorneys to check the language. One point of contention could be a segment of the policy that talks about no posting derogatory comments about the Wichita Fire Department. Some firefighters say that could infringe on freedom of speech."
Reaction to the department's policy has been mixed.
"So are the firefighters not allowed to read a book, play cards, dominoes and pool anymore either? What makes Facebook any different from any other leisure activity they do during down time. The policy is ridiculous!!!" said one person, posting a comment on KSN's site.
"I don't understand why anyone would care if firemen are using social media. Unless it is making their response time suffer then there is no reason to limit usage at all," said another.
But another commentor felt quite differently:
I can understand why they don't want Firefighters using facebook at work. How would you feel if your house was on fire and you pull up to see them taking pictures with their phones. Can you say law suit waiting to happen. I personnally would not to see my house on fire on facebook. I know when I was a volunteer firefighter you had to be careful of what you told people of the cause and what not. When you watch the news they only show certain things and say certain things.
— Via KSN.com
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