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Duty to Act Info

Discussion in 'EMS Talk' started by ffemt8978, Nov 13, 2007.

  1. MochaRaf

    MochaRaf Forum Crew Member

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    As far as New Jersey is concerned, abriggs is absolutely correct with a single exception.

    We do not have a duty to act if we are off duty, even if we are in uniform. The only exception to this rule is if you obtained a speciality license plate from the state that identifies you as an "EMT" or "EMT-P".

    P.S. I forgot to mention that this exception only applies if you are in your vehicle and witness an emergency. If you are nowhere near your car and witness something you once again do not have a duty to act.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2012
  2. albertaEMS

    albertaEMS Forum Asst. Chief

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Quebec the only Canadian province with a duty to act law? Or does that only apply to volunteer first aiders, not EMS?
     
  3. Medic Tim

    Medic Tim Forum Deputy Chief Premium Member

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    In nb we have a duty to act on and off duty. We are considered medics 24/7
     
  4. Scott33

    Scott33 Forum Asst. Chief

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    Could you provide a reference for the above please.
     
  5. EpiEMS

    EpiEMS Forum Deputy Chief

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    Does that mean you can perform ALS interventions wherever/whenever?
     
  6. pinecreekems

    pinecreekems Forum Ride Along

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    Duty to Act

    PA does not recognize the Good Samaritan Act. The Duty to Act applies when conducting your scope of practice when working only. Any actions taken while tending to the sick or injured, the liability falls on the actor(EMT). There is no medical command provided nor is there medical direction when following protocols for the actor(EMT) not performing their duties while working for their perspective employer.
     
  7. Medic Tim

    Medic Tim Forum Deputy Chief Premium Member

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    We own our skill set/scope of practice.

    We are required to have liability/malpractice insurance to register with our Paramedic association.
    That said when off duty there isn't much skills wise we can do. unless you are a super whacker and carry everything. I don't know of anyone who carries more than a basic first aid kit in their car.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2012
  8. carbs24

    carbs24 Forum Ride Along

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    this is good to know
     
  9. AzValley

    AzValley Forum Lieutenant

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    Anyone know what is is in Arizona? Can't seem to find it.
     
  10. dkelley5

    dkelley5 Forum Probie

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    Alabama yes

    Alabama has a duty to act. However you are protected under alabama law by the good sam law if you stay within your scope and acted in good faith
     
  11. Dre

    Dre Forum Ride Along

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    If you advertise you are an EMT, you do not have to act. Even if you do have EMT plates. Why, is it safe for you to control the scene? Plus, you are under the insurance of your company or ambulance squad. If you act on your own, you are at will to your pocket. I would suggest that you at least call 9-1-1. The police can pull you over, but you do not have to help if your safety is a constant concern. At no time should any EMT step out on a highway and help. It is a major safety concern!

    I have EMT Plates and I at least call 9-1-1 and check if anyone is hurt. That is all I do.
     
  12. tjsnc

    tjsnc Forum Ride Along

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    NC EMT Duty to Act

    No. Good Samaritan Law applies only, which addresses ANY person...
     
  13. Clipper1

    Clipper1 Forum Asst. Chief

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    What if your mother is driving your car? How do they know if the "EMT" pertains to you or her?

    There is also a difference in specialty plates. One is obtained through formal means to show your affiliation and comes with a lot of requirements.

    The other is a fun plate which just about anyone can purchase to show support with a small part of the fees going to that organization. Many states have EMS plates for just about anyone to purchase as a way of supporting EMS.

    Florida was the easiest to look up. This state does not have a front plate so you can put whatever on the front of your car. But, if you put an official plate you do have some special considerations.

    http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2012/320.0898

    Regular fun plates:

    http://myfloridaspecialtyplate.com/gallery.html


    New Jersey:
    ftp://www.njleg.state.nj.us/20042005/A0500/120_I1.PDF

    New Jersey also has many other specialty plates.
    http://statutes.laws.com/new-jersey/title-39/section-39-3

    But, in all of the links for application did it say anything about a duty to act. Is this a department thing and are you covered by your department or acting as a member of your department when responding? What if you are in another county? Do you allow anyone else to drive your car? Does your company pay for the license plate and sign on your insurance? Does it restrict you from drinking alcohol while off duty? If you are told you have a duty to act when not on duty, I would get a copy of that "order" and carry it in your car next to your insurance verification. Someone will need to be held accountable. You can say "duty to act" but if you are not clear about what your employer means, the courts will probably not rule in your favor and you may have over stepped the limits of the Good Sam law or the extension given to EMS providers which might have protected you.

    Duty to act is also a broad term and just calling 911 can usually satisfy that in most places especially if conditions are unsafe. People in other industries and even lay people have a "duty to act" as long as it does not jeopardize their own safety and again just calling 911 can suffice in some situations. A few states did make this law for all to have some type of duty to act in an emergency. This came about after a couple of highly publicized acts of violence against someone and where no one did anything to assist...not even calling 911.

    This article might clear up a few misconceptions about duty to act.

    http://theemtspot.com/2009/06/23/what-is-the-duty-to-act/

    If you have questions about your "duty to act" per your agency, I suggest you contact the attorney for that company if your immediate supervisors can not give you the written policy. You can also contact the state EMS office but I doubt if the state will extend a "duty to act" if you are not employed by EMS. Thousands of people hold EMT certs and many do not work for EMS.
     
  14. Genaio

    Genaio Forum Ride Along

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    Wisconsin DtA

    While Wisconsin doesn't have Duty to Act, our Good Samaritan Law DOES cover medical professionals who provide emergent care, as long as they aren't being compensated. The law was specifically written to encourage off duty medical personnel to render aid without fear of civil liability, then later on it was changed to encompass everyone.

    Source: Wisconsin's Good Samaritan Law
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2013
  15. 9D4

    9D4 Forum Asst. Chief

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    Arizona does not have a Duty to Act law.
    However, I was told off duty Phoenix firefighters have to render aid (and are compensated for it), but I'm not sure if any other municipalities have a similar rule.
     
  16. KirkAndrzejewski

    KirkAndrzejewski Forum Probie

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    So I'm sure this is probably a stupid question, but I live in Michigan, so even though I'm not obligated to act while off duty, would I get reprimanded for acting off duty? Is it a bad idea to assist if I'm not obligated, could this cause legal troubles against me?
     
  17. RebelAngel

    RebelAngel White Cloud

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    Look into Good Samaritan Laws for your state.

     
  18. UnkiEMT

    UnkiEMT Forum Truck Monkey Premium Member

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    I know this is rather late to the party, but I'd like to clarify this.

    I reciprocitied into New Mexico, so a whole bunch of stuff about New Mexico specific laws I didn't learn in school, So I started asking co-workers, and I got a number of conflicting answers. So I went to the EMS bureau and asked them, this is the answer I got:

    You have a duty to act if you are advertising yourself as an EMT. For example: If you're in uniform, if you have a star of life pin on your cloths or sticker on your car, or if you have EMT plates on your car. Otherwise no.

    They did go on to say that they couldn't recall anyone ever being brought up for not stopping, though.

    As an aside, I think I have an ethical duty to act, even if I don't have a legal one...though trying to work a call when you don't have any equipment is kinda humbling...I rolled across a code while I was in my POV...I got CPR started but I'd never realized how dependent I was on my rig full of toys.
     
  19. pdxems

    pdxems Forum Ride Along

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    thanks for the info
     
  20. TransportJockey

    TransportJockey Forum Chief

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    That is very true. The whole vehicle thing is a hard to prove thing simply because a non certified person might be driving the vehicle with EMT plates on it. I think that's why no one has ever been hit for it
     

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