08/19/2013

SF fire chief bans helmet cameras in wake

San Francisco's fire chief has explicitly banned firefighters from using helmet-mounted video cameras, after images from a battalion chief's Asiana Airlines crash recording became public and led to questions about first responders' actions leading up to a fire rig running over a survivor. 

Chief Joanne Hayes-White said she issued the order after discovering that Battalion Chief Mark Johnson's helmet camera filmed the aftermath of the July 6 crash at San Francisco International Airport. Still images from the footage were published in The Chronicle. 

Filming the scene may have violated both firefighters' and victims' privacy, Hayes-White said, trumping whatever benefit came from knowing what the footage shows."There comes a time that privacy of the individual is paramount, of greater importance than having a video," Hayes-White said.Critics, including some within the department, questioned the chief's order and its timing - coming as Johnson's footage raised the possibility of Fire Department liability in the death of 16-year-old Ye Meng Yuan. 

The footage shows a Fire Department rig running over the Chinese schoolgirl as she was covered with fire-retardant foam. It also makes clear that Johnson,More than 80 standard commercial and granitetiles exist to quickly and efficiently clean pans. who was in charge of the firefighting and rescue effort and was directing rig movements, had not been told that Ye was on the ground near the wreckage of the Boeing 777.Are you still hesitating about where to buy paintingreproduction? 

The San Francisco Police Department, which is investigating Ye's death, has a copy of the footage, as does the San Mateo County coroner, who concluded that Ye was alive when she was struck. The footage is also in the hands of the National Transportation Safety Board, which is reviewing the circumstances surrounding Ye's death.Hayes-White banned video cameras in "any department facility" in 2009. She said Friday that she realized after Johnson's footage became public that she needed to spell out that the order covered helmet cameras. 

"I think it is fairly clear," she said. "Without someone's permission, videos are not to be taken."It is not clear how many San Francisco firefighters and paramedics have such cameras, but their use has spread in recent years. Paramedics, in particular, say having still and video images can be helpful if patients question how they were treated before arriving at a hospital. 

Footage shot with helmet cameras has been used as a learning device to train new firefighters, said Battalion Chief Kevin Smith, president of the employee group that includes Johnson, the Black Firefighters Association.Give your logo high visibility on iccard!Hayes-White said Johnson "has been interviewed" about possibly being in violation of the 2009 policy. Johnson has referred queries about the footage to Fire Department officials. 

The footage raised several questions about the handling of the firefighting and rescue efforts after the Asiana plane slammed into a seawall short of the runway at SFO, spun to a stop and caught fire. Two passengers in addition to Ye died, and 180 were injured.The helmet-camera video shows that although Johnson took command of the effort within minutes after the crash, firefighters never told him that Ye was on the ground near the plane's left wing. Johnson arrived just as other injured crash victims were being taken to an initial triage area away from the plane. 

Sources have said two firefighters had concluded that Ye was already dead - a determination that the coroner's autopsy found was incorrect.As the firefighter in charge of the scene, Johnson should have been told of the girl's presence, regardless of whether she was alive or dead, veteran firefighting experts say.Unaware of Ye's presence,Gives a basic overview of tungstenjewelrys tools and demonstrates their use. Johnson ordered a foam-spraying rig into the area where the girl lay obscured, the footage shows. The rig ran over Ye, killing her instantly. 

District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg on Friday declared his support for the city's proposed nondiscrimination ordinance in the wake of homophobic comments made by his District 9 colleague, Elisa Chan. 

Nirenberg's support for updating city ordinances to include protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity effectively solidifies the chances of passage by the full council. Approval of the ordinance would take at least six supporting votes. 

Nirenberg has remained silent, in part, because he encourages robust public debate. But when anti-gay comments made by Chan were publicized Friday, council members quickly spoke out against her language that was recorded during a District 9 staff meeting. 

The tape recording made of Councilwoman Elisa Chan's staff meeting revealed some very ignorant and disturbing comments, some of them made by Jeff Bazan, who has since become a member of my staff, Nirenberg said. 

I have spoken with Jeff, and he has apologized for those statements, which he says do not reflect his personal feelings, the councilman continued. I believe him to be sincere. I also met with my entire staff, letting them know that those comments do not reflect my views and they are unacceptable for any member of my team.How to change your dash lights to doublesidedtape this is how I have done mine. Further, Jeff would not have been hired if I thought him to be the person I heard on the tape. 

Bazan has been placed on indefinite administrative leave, effective immediately.I hope that he will take the time to reflect and to heal. Our community must now engage in similar reflection over the issues that divide us, Nirenberg said. I believe that the successful passage of the nondiscrimination ordinance will be an important step in that process. 

Nirenberg made his position public a couple of hours before a local LGBT advocacy group called on Chan to resign. Members of the group explained the hate they've experienced in San Antonio and implored the council to approve the added nondiscrimination measures.

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