Category Archives: Videos

Big Brother or Caught in the Act? SF Buses to Issue Parking Tickets

Flick user Forty PhotographsParking in San Francisco is not a nightmare, but more of a craps shoot.  When Mrs HM and I lived in the City we only had one car and it was a small car at that.  When trying to find parking there was a rule:

3 blocks 6 times or 6 blocks 3 times.

This meant that if you went around the 3 nearest blocks in all directions 6 times you were not going to find a spot and should just find a shady spot maybe no one would see you.  But you had to be careful.  Handicap spots and the little ramps in the sidewalks were big tickets and I would never block a plug (hydrant).  Parking in a driveway or blocking a garage not your own was a guaranteed tow, so sneaking into a half spot was generally attempted, sometimes with success, other times that little white envelope would be waiting for you in the morning.

Unless of course you forgot which day of the week street cleaning was.  Then you’ve got another ticket for that too.

The Department of Parking and Traffic wanders the City in little 3 wheeled bikes and are almost like locusts swarming through the neighborhoods looking for places to earn revenue.  It’s a thankless job and when I see their little trucks parked on a plug and they’re no where in sight I call them in as illegally parked.

But I’ve gotten a bit off topic.

Point is, when you would be sitting at a sidewalk cafe and see a DPT bike go by, you suddenly sprang up and sprinted to the clearly expired meter and gave it another 25 cents for another 4 minutes without a $65 ticket.

But since 2008 the DPT officers aren’t looking around as often.

Listen to KRON 4′s Gabe Slate and Stanley Roberts Team up to look at how transit buses are issuing parking tickets just by driving down the street.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=u3S2MVQW_qs']

Installed on select Municipal Transportation Buses (MUNI) are cameras that capture images of cars along the bus’s route.  Those videos are then screened by a DPT officer and offending vehicles are sent tickets in the mail.

Unlike static red light cameras, they are able to see if a vehicle is moving, blocking traffic, occupied etc.  However, Happy is not a fan.

Reason being that buses are buses and parking enforcement is parking enforcement.  In addition, I seriously doubt the MUNI drivers are being cited for all their traffic violations, including blocking multiple lanes, stopping blocking intersections, illegal turns etc.  Or perhaps the drivers are safer now that the cameras are installed?

Either way, the City sees some value to the service since over the next 15 months cameras will be installed on all 819 buses.  At a cost of $800,000 in a City facing cuts in Fire, Police, EMS, library, even MUNI is hard to justify.  But in 2010 they recovered almost 1/4 of that cost on only 30 buses.

You do the math.

Some will scream “Big Brother!” and I see that argument and raise you a “it’s breaking posted laws.”

I only hope that the trucks that double park 2 and 3 wide directly next to a clearly identified loading zone get fined as much as the drivers who don’t notice the 3 feet tall letters on the street “TAXI ONLY.”

Perhaps MC could speak to the validity of mounting a camera on the ambulances to capture traffic violations?  I think we could up that 2102 citations in a year in just a few months the way folks seem to go insane around an ambulance.

Do you think this program is a good idea?  Think it goes too far?

Pass your passwords forward please

At last year’s How to Become a Firefighter Workshop here in Northern (some will argue Central, long story) California, I presented on technology in the job hunt, focusing specifically on the pitfalls of social media.  It is a fantastic all day seminar held at the Las Positas Fire College and includes lunch cooked by the students.  The cost of the seminar? $12. Including lunch and a chance to speak to the people hiring you one on one, let them preview your resume etc.  Where was this when I was getting hired?

The seminar attracts Battalion Chiefs, Division Chiefs, Officers from a number of large metropolitan departments and someone you know who writes a blog.  Our pals Judon Cherry, Chris Eldridge, Sam Bradley and Thaddeus Setla helped film the video for the program and this year Judon and the Dridge were there again.  Oh, and I have nothing to do with the kick ass indexed screen shot BTW.  have a look:

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLltS4TQfIE']

The attendees had some great questions about facebook, twitter, email a whole host of issues, but one comment from the audience stood out and has caught traction recently.

In my presentation I mention that some employers are asking that you friend their HR director on facebook prior to the interview.  When I mentioned that the Chiefs you’re speaking with may want to friend you as well, one of them spoke up from the audience,

“I don’t want to be your friend, I want your password.”

The audience was silent.

If you were one of the final applicants being considered for this job, would you give a prospective employer, or anyone for that matter, your facebook password?

It could be considered an invasion of privacy, but I can’t think of a better way to see what someone does when they think no one is watching.  And with the way that an employee can ruin a department’s reputation with the simple click of “share” I think it is reasonable to ask for it.

So this year, when I gave the presentation, we discussed the privacy settings pages and how to eliminate tags in photos perhaps you wish others had not uploaded, comments on posts that maybe you made late at night after drinking studying, or perhaps something rather inflamatory, deragatory, racist, sexist, heterophobic…you get the idea.

It’s actually a good idea for everyone to visit those pages every few months just to check and see what you look like from the inside of social media.  We make comments to one circle of friends the other circles may find offensive, but is any of that going to be considered immature, dishonest or a misrepresentation of who we really are?  It matters greatly if the three key traits an emploer is looking for are maturity, honesty and trust.

What do you think?

If you got called up for your dream job in the fire service and they asked for your password, what would you do?

Tip of the Helmet – Lady in the Flip Flops

It’s easy to see an accident and keep on walking, but something in some people kicks in to make them want to learn more. At a recent accident we’ve all seen on video by now a motorcyclist collided with a car and, surprisingly, they caught fire.
As random folks come to the car and look inside a woman in flip flops does what EVERY rescuer needs to do at EVERY roadway incident:

She looks under the car.

Seeing the unconscious body of the motorcycle rider she tries to lift the car off of him. Others seem interested and when she confirms again “there’s someone under there” the troops are flocking to the scene to lift the car.

You can give credit to the worker who pulled the rider out of harms way, the cops and their interesting fire attack or even the firefighters and paramedics who magically appear, but the real credit goes to flip flop lady and her desire to answer the burning question she had inside: “Where is the rider?”

From NPR: According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Wright suffered a “broken leg, a shattered pelvis, bruised lungs and burned skin,” when he and his motorcycle collided with a car. But, thankfully, he is “well on his way to recovery, his doctors said.”

 

Smoke Conditions

I came across this video for a neat looking product for fighting high rise fires from the floor below.

During the video we see how water can be applied through the device in either straight stream or via a remote controlled combination nozzle.

I have no opinion about the product positive or negative, that is not the reason for my sharing the video.  As you watch, pay careful attention to the changes in smoke conditions between straight stream and fog.

Just in case you always wondered why there is more smoke when you use the fog nozzle as opposed to putting the fire out with the straight stream.

More reach, more water, less fire, less smoke.

Thank You OCFA Engine 26

10 hours cramped into a fire engine.

450 miles.

14 minutes and 40 seconds that made me cry.

Thank You.

A Tip of the Helmet – Chico PD

By way of new bloggers Magnum Boots and their BLDG4801 comes this find of the Chico PD PSA.

 

Atta Boy Chico! A Tip of the Helmet to ya!


 

Someone has been paying attention in class.
If your Bay Area Fire, Police or EMS agency wants to make a PSA, click over HERE, I know a guy.

A Tip of the Helmet – Literally

South of San Francisco, as the funeral procession for Vince Perez and Tony Valerio weaved along, countless thousands of people took time out of their day to say goodbye.

I recently posted a video of the procession, but a video making the rounds on facebook stopped me dead in my tracks and made me cry like a…well…six year old.

It is another video of the funeral procession, but has a very important story to tell all it’s own.

I’m sure this young man’s parents had no idea they would be inspiring those who had lost a lot of momentum in life, just shooting some video to remember how their son reacted to a firefighter’s funeral. How did he react?

Well, he got his coat and helmet and stood at attention and saluted the engines as they passed by.

My brother from another mother, MotorCop, messaged me soon after sharing it and told me we needed to reach out to whoever posted the video and let them know what an impact it was having. So we did. And we heard back today:

Hello MC & Justin,

Thank you so much for your comments on my Youtube video of the SFFD funeral procession with the little boy & for reaching out to us. That is such a thoughtful and generous thing you would like to do but I have to tell you, his father (my husband) is a firefighter who was on a post that day and I am a police officer and the little boy is our son. We felt it would be a learning experience for him to be a part of the funeral and to understand what those men sacrificed for people they didn’t even know. We wanted him to pay his respects, to experience the brotherhood, love and support for those real life heroes and their families. He is six years old and aspires to be a firefighter, then he wants to be on “mom’s team”and aspires to be a police officer then a medic on the ambulance so he can save and help people. Of course, we would be thrilled and honored with either.

We were equally moved by the overwhelming number of firefighters who saluted and waved at our son as well as the family members of the fallen firefighters who opened their windows to smile and take a photo. To know for that moment they were able to divert their thoughts away from their grief and feel the love, support and admiration we all have for their loved ones, is why we were there. To honor and support the fallen firefighters, their families and extended families of first responders.

We thank you all for your dedicated service and for reaching out to us. Words cannot express our sympathies and sadness for the San Francisco Fire Department and the families of the fallen firefighters. Thank you ALL!!!!!

No. No, thank you. I was having a hell of a time coming to terms with what has happened recently. Suddenly my thoughts would shift to how Vince and Tony died and I’d be frozen, unable to speak, unable to feel, unable to express myself.
The video of the procession gave me some closure, but then I saw this.

And I felt better.

I saw the honor you have taught your son, and at a young age to understand it and stay waving that flag, salute never wavering…
I saw myself to be honest, and I’d imagine MC did too. Both our fathers were firemen and I’m sure he felt the same connection to this young man that I did.

They say some children have a wisdom beyond their years and it is seldom by accident or by chance. No, this child is an inspiration because he is more respectful than half the adults I know and that is a direct reflection on the quality parenting he is receiving.

I, like MC, wish more people took the time to share with their children the importance of family, honor and tradition.

I was ready to make this young man an honorary San Francisco FireFighter, but there is no need. Not only because of his family being already in the business, but because he already is. I’m sure that was handled by Vince and Tony on Friday.

Real Firefighter Olympics

From our friends at Gasda Software, creators of the BlackBerry Shift Calendar, a link to what real firefighter olympics look like.  Last ones I went to had darts and bowling.  Thanks D!

 

Beyond the Lights & Sirens turns 1

A year ago we were gathered in the ballroom at the Hotel Frank in San Francisco waiting for Thaddeus Setla to press the play button.

The time finally came to show the audience what we had filmed the previous November in the engines and ambulances of an American EMS system while UK Paramedic Mark Glencorse followed along.  A hush fell over the crowd of EMTs, Paramedics, friend, industry leaders and family when Thaddeus raised his hands and said, “Our online audience is watching it right now, can we dim the lights please?”

Chronicles of EMS – The Reality Series (Season 1 Episode 1) from Thaddeus Setla on Vimeo.

25 minutes later, after a few good laughs and plenty of smiles the show finished and I found Mark in the crowd.  We were near tears seeing what Setla had done to capture the emotion we had experienced months before.  It was like reliving all we had learned in our trans-Atlantic exchange.

The evening was a great success and the following morning found us in Setla’s studio filming the first 3 episodes of A Seat at the Table.

1 year later we’ve released 23 episodes and have plenty more planned as well as in post production.

The reality series got a new name, thanks to our audience and network TV executives are curious to see what else we have in mind.

If they only knew.

In recent weeks you’ve seen A LOT of activity at the Chronicles site because we are gaining partners and growing rapidly.  No longer is “Chronicles” (#CoEMS on the twitter) simply about Justin Mark and Ted in San Francisco.  Chronicles of EMS is now only part of the content planned for he new First Responders Network TV.  We’ve partnered with fire centered production houses to create new original training and entertaining content similar to the EMS side.

And we’re not stopping there.

If Tak Response taught us anything, it’s that cross training outside your discipline is exciting, new and long over due.  For that reason law enforcement will also be included in FRN.TV, focusing on how we can all learn from each other before the incident instead of during it.

We never landed in prime time on Discovery Health traveling the world exploring EMS systems, but we have time to do better.

Keep an eye on the Chronicles of EMS site for details about our new partnership with the SFPA and Brady and how EMTs all over the country will soon be familiar with what we’re doing.

In addition, Seat at the Table has expanded into new territory, sitting down with the International Association of EMS Chiefs as well as sign language expert Louise Sattler to discuss communicating with unique patients.

We’re charging forward in every direction, working on both reality shows, training series, CE content (coming soon) and a host of scripted dramas, comedies and features that will bring EMS into the home of Americans in a way they have never seen before: Accurate and entertaining.

Thanks for all your support over the last 365 days, and I hope we can count on it in the future.

-Justin

Double Standard for Social Media?

An excellent warning and recap of social media blunders is up at fellow blogger Raising Ladders site.  Please take the time to read it and come back.

With all those situations fresh in your mind I would like to offer the following situation:

An EMT crew posts videos on facebook of them flirting with women while on post, asking for phone numbers and for them to expose themselves.  Your company logo and location are clearly visible and they even delay a response to take pictures with some of the young ladies.  Later video shows half a dozen in the back of the ambulance.

How quickly would this crew be fired and a ban on social media placed?  I would guess faster than immediately. Just like the stories listed by Raising Ladders, administrations would seek to punish the sharing of inappropriate behavior and I would, in this situation, have to agree.

But what if the story shows up on the local news as a result of a nasty divorce proceeding?

You guessed it, no terminations.  Even though the person who filmed the video now works for another agency, he is not being reprimanded by his current agency.  Surely there is a difference since they have moved on in employers and it was 5 years ago, but images posted 6 years ago got one fellow in trouble.

In this report from Channel 7 ABC News you can get the details on what the videos show.

So I’ll ask again, if this video had surfaced on facebook, myspace or twitter would it be used to ban the use of social media?
If so, will we now ban all recording devices/cameras/phones from our responders? Not a bad idea in some respects, as the round up showed us, but the plan needs to address the need for responders to communicate with company and family when on the job.

It seems like a no-brainer to me. If you are going to post, don’t flirt, and for goodness sakes don’t video tape it. And when a call comes in, ANSWER IT.
This could spin an entirely different post about the false benefits of system status management, but I’ll save that for another day.

If you can take anything away from this post it is that whatever you do, the public is watching you. Had this video been shot by a bystander it would be just as damning and inappropriate.
It is not the manner in which the media is shared that is the problem, but that it is recorded and shared at all.

Does your Department or Company have a policy in place for recording non-patient images when on duty? Can you photograph the station, rigs or friends when on post?

Thanks again to Raising Ladders for the recap and chance to share this video in context with those stories.