Lessons on social media from the IAFC conference

By Rick Stoll May 20, 2014

Rick StollI was happy to attend the Eastern Division International Association of Fire Chiefs conference on May 9. What a rewarding experience. Chief Ted Lowden and Evesham Fire Rescue were wonderful hosts, and it was a great opportunity to meet fire service leaders from across the Atlantic region. The agenda was full of educational and entertaining material. Neighbors got to partake in some of the entertainment as an impressive Neptune large-flow pumping system, capable of pumping 5,000 gpm of water at 150 psi, was parked in the driveway. I highly recommend checking one out.

Among the many interesting agenda items, Chief Bill Jenaway’s presentation, “Liability, Social Media, and IRS,” was particularly noteworthy. It’s a critical topic we often overlook. Chief Jenaway is the executive vice president of VFIS and responsible for education, training, and consulting services. He provided eye-opening examples of how social media and frequent litigation that pervades today’s society demand vigilance and the use of appropriate standard operating guidelines.

Many of his examples weren’t obvious risks, such as department references coming from personal Facebook accounts or seemingly innocent pictures that violate confidentiality laws. While social media is a great tool with many municipal, commercial, and personal uses, he reminded us of a very important fact: Anyone can view and redistribute your posted content. Although the use of social media isn’t usually a component of traditional fire service training, you should give serious consideration to including it regardless of your department’s online presence.

This article has more information related to Chief Jenaway’s presentation.


Rick Stoll

Rick Stoll is the assistant vice president of product management at Verisk Insurance Solutions. He is responsible for the development and management of data and analytic products. Rick has over 15 years’ experience building, managing, and selling complex digital services – primarily ones grounded in big data analytics. Prior to ISO, he lead innovative product initiatives at Dun & Bradstreet and American Express. He holds a bachelor of science degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech and a master of business administration from New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business.