In these days of electronic media, we find ourselves more and more in the spotlight. The public servants are constantly under the scrutiny of the masses. It seems that it is a race to see who can get the best or first picture/video of any event that happens. While everyone has the right to freedom of speech, where is the line drawn?
If the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” was followed, we may not find ourselves in this situation. Patients may not want their picture taken or due to age should not have their picture taken. Would you like anyone to have pictures of you or your loved ones, in what are usually the most challenging of moments in life, or sometimes even death?
The emergency responders have tasks that need to be completed. Among them are scene safety and security, patient care, and documenting the event. One problem lies within scene security and the protection of our patients. We have had an increasing issue lately with people wanting to “help” or just get through. Our fire district struggles to produce the number of personnel to properly mitigate most scenes. It has become logistically harder to control with bystanders trying to drive through or walk into the emergency scene just to see what is going on and who is involved. We understand that you might know who is involved, but the best thing you can do is keep clear so the first responders can do their jobs. Please understand when you do try to “help,” all you are really doing is “helping” to hinder the current level of care to a patient, or worse, create a safety hazard by distracting workers on scene. For every person that tries to insert themselves into a scene, one of the first responders cannot help the people that really need it.
During a recent motor vehicle crash in town, bystanders were asked multiple times to get out of the way. While they did move, they continued to find their way back in between responders and the patients. At one point, a bystander made their way past the scene boundaries, to the back of an ambulance and was trying to take pictures of several patients, one being a juvenile. If responders have to ask you to exit a scene or there is someone stopping traffic, these emergency responders need to be given the respect and space to do the best they can. We are sure if you were injured you would want the personnel to be paying attention to you instead of the other people that are not directly involved. Without getting into specific laws, there are things that we can do to levy fines and/or consequences for what seems to be juvenile actions. Most of our personnel are volunteer employees that give up an extreme amount of personal and family time just to help when others need it. We know when we close the road down for a fire or a crash it seems like an extreme inconvenience, but we assure you that the person or persons that we are there for have it a lot worse. Being volunteers, we would also like to get everything taken care of and the road reopened so we can return to our day’s scheduled events.
What are we asking for? We are asking for your help in letting us do our jobs, respecting our emergency responders on scene and follow any instructions they give you and signs they are displaying. We are asking you to respect the privacy of our patients by not taking pictures of them or their emergency. Most of all, we are asking you to work with us in keeping our scene safe by not causing any extra distractions, so that we can properly attend to the matter at hand with 100% focus.