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Jerome Frazier wasn’t happy with what he was seeing. For a half hour early Sunday, Frazier let whoever was watching his two Facebook Live posts know about his concerns. On the videos you will hear Frazier being quite critical of Village of Lynwood (IL) firefighters as they struggle with apparent water pressure issues and making the connection to a hydrant across the street from the burning home on Lakewood Avenue. Frazier was standing just a few feet from the firefighters dealing with the hydrant while loudly expressing his displeasure with their performance.
Mr. Frazier’s videos illustrate the difficulties public safety agencies can face with citizen “journalists”. They are often on the air–live–at the same moment, or shortly after fire, EMS and police arrive at a scene (remember Rhoda Young in Norfolk, VA?). Their impressions of a department’s operations–right or wrong–are shared with the social media community. Most likely the department’s PIO and/or chief likely aren’t aware that it’s occurring. As you can see from two posts below the second video, both the Lynwood Fire Department and Lynwood Firefighters Association later shared a different view of the fireground via their own Facebook posts.
So, if you are the PIO or chief, do you ignore this very citizen commentary about problems on the fireground or do you acknowledge the issues and address them?
As I’ve written many times before, the one thing that’s certain about our age of instant communications is when things go wrong there will certainly be a camera nearby to capture all of the action.