Don’t kill an amazing career with a stupid social media post

There have been a number of news stories in the last few months of firefighters, police officers, and EMS workers getting in trouble over social media. The guys from Keep Calm and Train Your Rookie posted the below video today.

Notice how he said when the news media publishes a story it does not say “John Smith did something dumb”, the news media will say “Firefighter John Smith from Your City FD did something dumb”. This goes for LEOs and EMS also.

When I was in the academy I remember one instructor saying “If one of us fucks up, we all fuck up”. The news will not paint the picture of one person acting on their own. It will paint a picture of our department being a part in the wrong doing. This was before social media was invented. Meaning this is not a new problem, just one that is easier to get national attention now.

In addition I like how he also mentions posting some of the drinking photos people like to post. It reminds me of an event that took place last year at my agency. No policy was broken so no one was fired but some of us lost a ton of respect for our direct supervisor.

This supervisor posted photos of drinking with a group of people. In some photos he was groping a female, who is also a city employee down at city hall. The contact was consensual but still for some female staff the images were a tad offensive. Everyone knows he wants to move up one more level in the chain of command, but this incident (along with other poor judgment in posting to social media) have stalled out his advancement.

Do you have dreams of moving up the chain of command? How about a special assignment like SWAT team or water rescue team? Imagine losing out on that opportunity due to a photo or comment online.

I have nothing against social media. Running a blog with some active social media pages it would be hypocritical to say never post things online. The thing is be to be smart about it!

  • DL Thomas

    Good Advice. Very Smart Firefighter…..Good Job.

  • doug Steley

    I screwed up last month and shared something for some friends on a public forum.

    I have offered a full and open appology for my thoughtlessness and stupidity.

    I can only hope it is accepted.

    Be careful, but if you do screw up apologizing is the simplest method of dealing with mistakes.