Taking pictures on scene?

*ofLife

Forum Crew Member
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What are "the limits" to taking pictures on scene?
I'm assuming, for privacy purposes and out of respect, no victims should be pictures, correct?
What other guidelines are there?
 

Arkymedic

Forum Captain
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What are "the limits" to taking pictures on scene?
I'm assuming, for privacy purposes and out of respect, no victims should be pictures, correct?
What other guidelines are there?

My service prohibits the use of any recording device- ie camera, video cam, tape recorder, cell phone, etc. If it is a bad call and the director or a supervisor responds, they might take pictures for the ER but they are erased immediately as soon as they are not needed.
 

Ridryder911

EMS Guru
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All of our cell phones (EMS) lenses have been purposefully painted over. If one is to be found taking pictures, it is grounds for automatic dismissal. I have to admit, it still goes on, but hope they don't get caught.

R/r911
 

Jon

Administrator
Community Leader
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I don't usually take photos... but at the vollie squad, some of our supervisors and members take photos... As far as I know, we have no policy. I've taken photos occasionally, when there wasn't any patient care needed, and the scene was "different" - like the car into a fire hydrant, with a geyser of water coming up from the ground.

Many of the local fire companies take photos, and I've been able to find incident photos of me at work in the past... which can be cool.

Photos shouldn't include any information that allows patients to be identified.... so be careful about license plates, etc.... some photos will show EMS packaging a patient... but all we see is a body on a long board.

I won't take photos at my full time job, because it isn't worth my job, however I'm not sure there is a policy specifically prohibiting it. The part time job has a vague policy... but we've all been known to take photos... and we manage to get a slide show together every year with photos of us working events, having fun, and enjoying ourselves at work.
 

Outbac1

Forum Asst. Chief
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I have taken pictures at MVC's when I have no work to do. Eg: Drivers are refusing assessment/transport or have fled the scene. Others have taken a pic. to show the Er Dr. what the scene was like. I haven't and won't take pictures of patients or parts of patients.

I have seen pictures of patients taken in the ER with permission if it was something interesting for teaching. Overall not many pictures.
 

paramedix

Forum Lieutenant
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Generally no one is allowed to take pictures of any incident, even if it is in a public domain. All of our EMS and FD companies have special people employed to take those photos in order to protect patient confidentiality and preserve privilaged information.

These photos are then viewed by Quality Control Management and will only then be released to the media/press if needed. We "try" to control the media as far as possible, by that I mean our PRO's would rather take the photos and release it than exposing the patient/s.

Unfortunately we cannot control our media and if they are on the scene, they are allowed to take photos (public domain) provided they are not close to the scene, meaning if they behind barrier tape or outside the scene, we cannot stop them. The police usually ask them nicely to leave...:)

Some of the media guys are really cool with this and they will ask the company's PRO on scene to submit them the photos.

As for the general medics from our company... they are not really allowed to take photos of a scene or patient, not even for educational purposes. We have a training department for that.

Some medics do take pictures for their personal records, but they take it upon their own license and responsibility...after all patient's have been cleared from scene!
 

Ops Paramedic

Forum Captain
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I am jumping on board with what Paramedix says on this one!! Sometimes a picture can speak a thousand words, good or bad. Just be sure that you know what you are doing proir to snapping away. Even more, be very carefull as to what you publish (Anywhere), you never know who is looking.
 

firecoins

IFT Puppet
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generally no pix but I have taken some pix of scenes at odd calls like a protest at the NYC Chinese embassy to the UN. I don't take pix of patients of course or anything that IDs someone.
 
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*ofLife

*ofLife

Forum Crew Member
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Great feedback guys, thanks. I was curious because I'd like to, in the future, be able to share with Driver's Ed students the things I see, vehicle related.
 

MedicPrincess

Forum Deputy Chief
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Major accidents, I will whip out the camera and take pics to show the Trauma Team when we get there.....

Or if we are "hanging out" waiting for our next move, without patient contact (lengthy extrication with ALS FD onscene in the vehicle, SO chasing down the patient, ect....) I may pull it out.

One time on a 1 1/2 hr extrication, I had one of the to many to count vollies standing along the side of the road looking for something to do, start snapping.

Pretty much, as long as we don't compromise patient care in any way, and common sense prevails there aren't to may restrictions.
 

KEVD18

Forum Deputy Chief
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i have never seen a reason to take pics on scene. bringing polaroids to the er was a sound theory 20yrs ago. now, with motor vehicles being designed to crumple to the point of resembling a run over soda can, that damage doesnt mean anything. if you crumpled a 74 licoln, it was significant. same damage to a 04 hyundai could mean nothing more than a 5mph crash into a telephone pole.

now training pics are another story altogether. i love taking pics at trainings
 

TraumaJunkie

Forum Crew Member
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on the truck we have a instant developing camera that we use to show the ER mechanism and other information from the scene. These pictures stay with the pt's file @ the hospital with the run report.
 

medicdan

Forum Deputy Chief
Premium Member
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I have taken pics on a few scenes in Israel-- and in fact been encouraged to by some of my supervisors. They have all been scenes where I have nothing better to do .

In Israel, we need the license plates of all cars in all MVAs, and it isn't usually practical to write them down when on the highway, so we have a camera for just that-- to snap pics of the plates. We use that same camera to snap pics of plates of cars blocking the street or getting in our way while responding.
In terms of patient confidentiality, I would never take pictures of a patient without their permission.
But, have had a case, where the patient had a growth-- and asked if we wanted to take a picture-- so we obliged. Needless to say, my partner, who was an instructor, has used it in her classes.
I do have some cool pics from fire scenes...but would never take a picture of a patient without their permission.
 

BossyCow

Forum Deputy Chief
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From a legal standpoint, if you take a picture of a scene, and your agency doesn't have a policy forbidding it, or at the least addressing the who, why and what happens to it, if anything happens as a result of that pic getting into the wrong hands.. your agency is liable.

We have stated that no pictures of any scene are to be taken other than by the department camera, for the purpose of showing MOI on MVAs or damage due to fire. Those pictures are the property of the district and are not to be shared or removed from the station for any reason other than the ones stated above.

Personal photographs on cell phones or personal cameras are forbidden. Anyone caught taking, sharing or publishing any photos from any call is subject to progressive discipline up to and including termination depending on the seriousness of the offense.

Personally, I can't see any reason to take personal photos of scenes. We do use some photos as a history and for training. These photos are and remain the property of the district and are only used in district trainings. One of my biggest complaint with the whackers and wannabes is they think EMS is a spectator sport.
 

rayemtjax77

Forum Probie
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Great feedback guys, thanks. I was curious because I'd like to, in the future, be able to share with Driver's Ed students the things I see, vehicle related.

I know that in my department we have a photographer that responds to majort scenes.. both fire and EMS. but ther are never any pics of patients. Just scene... vehicles, buildings, firefighters... things like that
 

VentMedic

Forum Chief
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The EMS magazines and conferences have also ceased with their scene photo contests. That used to be big for the Clincon Conference and the old EMERGENCY magazine. Many wanted their photos to get published.
 

emtwacker710

Forum Captain
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the only time I myself or another EMS member will take pics, (that I have noticed) is when it is a MVA or some sort of rescue that we can use the pics or recorded footage to review and learn from, other than that taking pics of the pt. and such is not allowed.
 

ffemt8978

Forum Vice-Principal
Community Leader
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We were on a call not too long ago where one of our members took pictures of the patient's injuries.








Nothing was done about it, and nothing will be done about it. PT and EMT were both female, and pics were at the request of LE for documenting assault injuries.
 

Anomalous

Forum Lieutenant
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Almost any picture you take is open to subpoena.

They don't generally subpoena things to HELP you.
 
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