Emergency incident sites where fire departments respond to are often surrounded by numerous observers. The majority of these people are usually simple spectators. Others are more interested in the actual work of firefighters, even showing up regularly on incident sites thanks to a radio scanner. Among these people, we often find different types of photographers: professionals, amateurs, experts or beginners. With all these people present on a scene, the work of emergency services can easily be impeded on.
There are however many serious photographers that show interest in capturing firefighting work on film for various purposes: increasing the fire department's visibility to the public and other departments, showcasing the outstanding work of firefighters, producing images for firefighter training, producing images for the fire department's archives, documenting the evolution of an incident, promoting the fire department's activities, etc.
These fire photographers could do their work in full safety and without disrupting emergency operations, but the frequent presence of unauthorized individuals with all kinds of intentions complicates the management of incident sites. Photographers are consequently often confined to very large perimeters only to simplify access management.
To favor a tighter collaboration between photographers and emergency services, some individuals specialized in fire photography formed on June 30th 2004 a group called the Quebec Fire Photographers Association (QFPA). This association defined its mission as to represent professional and amateur fire photographers and to structure their activities through the design of a code of conduct.
In 2009, the Association opened a program for personal commitment to the Quebec Fire Photographers Code of Conduct. This free program replaces the previous accreditation process known as «CDPIQ». By voluntarily committing to this Code of Conduct, fire photographers gain an additional tool to help them evolve within the field of fire photography.
Even though authorities have in now way an obligation to recognize this Code of Conduct, personally committing to obey its enactments constitutes in itself a tool to help build a stronger relationship with emergency services. Authorities that acknowledge fire photographers ready to personally commit to this Code gain additional assurances in matters of respecting legislation, authorities, incident scenes and victims.
The Quebec Fire Photographers Association (QFPA) hereby invites the senior staff of fire departments and police services to study the Quebec Fire Photographers Code of Conduct and to recognize favorably the individuals that vow to obey it.