The benefits of bodycams for firefighters
Bodycams for firefighters have been embraced worldwide to protect staff, gather evidence, communicate, train and evaluate processes.
The Netherlands, France, the U.K., the U.S.A., Germany and India are just a few of the countries where firefighters are supported by bodycam systems on the frontline. To address organisational and societal challenges, as well as increase the safety of staff and improve interactions with the public.
Bodycams for firefighters result in more safety and job satisfaction
Worrying trends from recent years show that frontline professionals in many industries and sectors are facing increased aggression and abuse. Firefighters all across the world experience this as well. A 66% increase of assault in the U.K., thousands of French firefighters who fall victim on a yearly basis, 80% of Belgian firefighters facing abuse yearly, or 30 emergency service employees facing abuse and aggression every day in Germany.
These statistics show the increasing need for tools and technology to better protect crucial frontline professionals working for society. Firefighters especially face considerable risk as they are on the frontline, with no legal powers to stop an escalating situation or arrest wrongdoers. Furthermore, they are often front and center in tough, emotional situations with a higher chance of escalation. Ranging from the destruction of someone’s home, to full scale New Year’s Eve riots.
Bodycams have shown to drastically reduce the amount of verbal and physical escalations, by as much as 50% in just one year! Cambridge University research came up with a similar 47% reduction in verbal and physical aggression after a bodycam solution was implemented. The presence of bodycams alone is often enough to prevent abuse; due to the risk of being recorded antisocial behaviour is drastically reduced. When it is not, indisputable evidence recorded by the bodycam increases the conviction rates of perpetrators by up to 93%. French and Dutch firefighters using ZEPCAM bodycams have found that they drastically reduce the amount of incidents and escalations in the field.
Bodycams gather indisputable evidence of abuse and property damages
When the bodycam is turned on, it completely records interactions from before the button was pressed until the conclusion of an escalation. The bodycam has massive benefits over traditional camera systems when the right vendor is selected:
- They are close-up inside the situation
- They record audio
- They record in high resolution
- They securely process data and privacy sensitive information
These factors result in indisputable evidence for conviction. Courts worldwide can now experience firsthand what actually occurred, who is at fault, and what must be done. Employees on the frontline have embraced bodycam systems as back-up to their field reports; having supporting technology that can defend their just actions leads to more confidence and job satisfaction.
A very interesting possibility bodycams provide is the chance to consistently record all important information during a firefighting operation. Damages to buildings and property, the location of exits, tagging evidence, and even livestreaming to an expert on structural integrity; all are now efficiently possible with bodycam systems.
The Grenfell Tower disaster is an example of the usefulness and necessity of bodycams for firefighting operations. The U.K.’s worst residential fire since World War II caused over 70 deaths and as many injuries. Many firefighters on the scene wore bodycams that recorded evidence which is now used in government inquiries and legal proceedings. The bodycam footage is used as visual and auditory evidence to determine the cause, to support situation analysis as well as the steps taking by firefighters to combat the flames.
Bodycams for firefighters provide actionable data for training and evaluation
“Kind of like what sports athletes do. They’re watching batting practicing or watching another football team. We’re doing the same thing. We’re reevaluating and seeing how we can get better.”
Captain JD Flint, Metro Fire of Sacramento : Source :CBS news
Bodycams provide fire departments with actionable data that supports continuous improvements and the development of best practices. This was explored recently with ZEPCAM customer Spinel Safety Centre, where they train a large number of Dutch firefighters. Bodycam footage provided instructors with:
- A modern technological tool for assessment and evaluation
- A total picture of the drills conducted during the training; leading to improved oversight for the instructor
- Footage which captured details or elements that were not analysed during the drill, but afterwards. This results in more data and further improvements of firefighter actions on the ground
- Footage which is incredibly valuable for showing trainees their actions and pinpointing results, as well as elements that need addressing.
- A tool that improves the process of setting and achieving goals by trainees
- Footage that trainees could take home to analyse, share and show their training drills. This is an added bonus compared to more traditional training methods.
The video and audio that bodycams record can greatly improve firefighter operations through continuous feedback as well as ‘crowd-sourced’ best practices. By having this crucial information available, firefighters around the world can develop and share assessments, ideas and improvements that can result in more lives saved, more safety for staff, and more efficient processes throughout.
Newly developed livestreaming bodycams can offer further benefits through direct, real-time support from colleagues. Other firefighters in a control room can follow operations in real-time, offering feedback or warnings. This allows for senior staff to directly support their junior colleagues in the field.