The IAFC created this members-only resource in response to feedback from fire and emergency service leaders looking to establish department policies that recognize both the benefits and dangers of social media in public service.
The document was compiled by incorporating model policies from departments around the country, as well as current legal and regulatory issues and media reports. With the input of IAFC members who have already established policies, the document addresses many of the issues departments are currently facing in the field.
However, as social media is a rapidly changing and highly personal medium and as jurisdictions may have different legal and regulatory considerations, the policy is not all encompassing. The model policy is a tool—not a template—for chiefs to employ when establishing their own local policies. As with any model policy, fire and emergency service leaders are urged not to copy the policy verbatim, but to use it as a framework to think though the specific needs of their departments and communities. In addition, this policy model is not meant to address one particular form of social media; rather social media in general terms as emerging technology will outpace our collective ability to regularly document and create policies governing its specific use.
The IAFC recommends that its members review the model policy and implement a social media policy of their own if they haven’t done so already.