Safety Rules for Breaking News Photograpers

Getting to the scene is the primary concern of the Breaking News photographer and journalists. Unfortunately, that can be very dangerous. So obeying the law is imperative — it may save your life.

The following safety rules are NOT FOR STORM CHASERS. Storm Chasers should work with a professional chase team because of the extensive knowledge of meteorology, geography and weather terminology that is required. Chasing storms is extremely risky and should not be pursued by inexperienced photographers or journalists.

In addition to having your press cards up to date and in your possession at all times, you must:

Obey the speed limit.

Do not look at road maps or cell phones while driving.

Slow down when visibility is limited.

Use extreme care on wet or icy roads.

Watch for and do not make sudden stops.

Work with a partner, if possible, who will drive for you.

Know the roads before you go.

Be prepared to take alternate routes if necessary.

Watch for flooding or pooling of water in low areas or near streams or rivers.

Obey traffic signals, even in rush hour traffic.

Be prepared for school zones and pedestrian crossings.

Get off the road when you park —  that means all four wheels.

Use only legal parking areas. Parking on interstate highways is illegal except for emergencies.

Do not park in weeds or low bushes, which may conceal ditches or other hazards.

Do not set up your equipment on roads, streets or bridges.

Keep your fuel tank over half full at all times.

Do not venture onto unpaved roads unless you know for sure that they are passable.

Upon arrival at the scene, remember that news scenes are naturally hazardous. To protect yourself and your camera you should:

Work with law enforcement officials.

Do not cross fire and police lines without proper authority.

Do not endanger anyone else just to get the story.

Do not approach burning buildings or heavily damaged vehicles. Walls fall and weight can shift.

Stay away from the emergency services teams on the scene.

Be prepared to wait in a safe place until the scene is “secured.”

Do not challenge Mother Nature.

Do not take risks. Floods, lightning, high winds and hail can cause serious injury or death.

Wear reflective clothing after dark — you could be the next accident victim.

Protect your equipment —  thieves love working these events too.

Do not be overcome with frustration — which causes bad judgment. Courtesy goes a long way.  News scenes are usually stressful by nature. As you leave the scene, the rush is on again to get the news out. Again, take extreme care on the dangerous highways. Do not take unnecessary risks. Obey all laws at all times.  Above all – stay safe.