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  • Video Cameras

    My department is looking at installing dash mounted video cameras in the ambulances and rescues for the purpose of training and quality assurance. We have also thrown around the idea of a service photographer or videographer.

    Through my department there has been talk of the legal issues that we will encounter if the public finds out that we are taking "pictures" of them without consent during their time of need.

    Does anyone have ideas, comments, or problems that they have encountered using video.

    Chris Schultz
    Mountain Ambulance

  • #2
    I think the larger issue is patient confidentiality, particularly with the ambulance. I am a Captain of my fire company and have the responsibility of being in charge of Ambulance operations. Part of that responsibility is QA/QI. I am required by New York State to black out any Names, Addresses, phone numbers or other identifying information during a QA session. People that were on the call are not to identify themselves all for the purpose of patient confidentiality.

    I would put it to you this way if you were injured in a car accident, would you want to know that everything that happened to you in the back of that ambulance was video taped?
    You also mentioned that this would be done without consent. That opens you to a completely different liability. I would advise against the video method. Pictures may work but I would leave any patients out of the photos.

    ------------------
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Captain
    Lewiston Fire Co. No. 2

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    • #3
      We have members that film extrications/rescues. We have also in the past had a professional videographer that made training films for us this way. We never had problems with it because we never let anyone film faces or license plates. They make great training tools- because it's no longer a question of opinion but fact. I would suggest a mobile camera vs a dash mounted one since you'd only have one angle.

      ------------------
      Susan Bednar
      Captain - Forsyth Rescue
      North Carolina Strike Force 1

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      • #4
        Capt. Cecula,

        I guess I should have explained this further, what we are looking at is dash mounted video cameras that would be used to show the extrication and patient care outside of the ambulance. This information would then be used internally in our department as a training device and for quality assurance. The patient confidentiality is always a concern of EMS and this tape would be treated as a patient transport report.

        This would be no different from police officers using cameras on traffic stops.

        Chris Schultz
        Mountain Ambulance

        [This message has been edited by Rescuespike (edited October 25, 2000).]

        [This message has been edited by Rescuespike (edited October 25, 2000).]

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        • #5
          With that being said I am still not sure that it is a good idea without patient consent. I do think it would provide a valuable training resource. Please let me know how this goes with your group.

          ------------------
          Shawn M. Cecula
          Captain
          Lewiston Fire Co. No. 2

          Comment


          • #6
            Our rescue unit has a photographer that has been trained to photograph evidence and scenes by the Major Collisions Unit of the Police. He is used quite considerably to assist with their investigations.

            We are all for photographing extrications. Disgression is used to ensure we're not taking "bad taste" pix and are only used for either investigation or educational purposes.

            Those that have seen the pix I post on this site will note that they do not show fatalities and dependant on the type of pic and what it is used for, whether or not casualties are visible.

            I definietly think it is a great idea...

            We have thrown around the idea of video our extrications, but the few points that keep coming up are:
            * What will the public percieve it as?
            * Could it be used against us or another service if something were to go wrong? (Let's face it, things can and do go wrong...)
            * A vehicle mount sytem may be too restrictive dependant on where the appliance is parked
            * We can't tie up a member videoing when an extrication is in progress- all hands need to be on deck

            We have in the past used local news cameramen to film complex or unusual incidents, and have absolute assurance from them and the TV stations that "untasteful" footage will not be aired. (And we've never had a problem to date...!)
            Luke

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            • #7
              Extreme times call for extreme measures.

              Have you ever had to use a tool in a manner that is not recommended, or worse yet, is specifically recommended against, by the manufacturer? Yet, in the situation, it was the last/only resort?

              If you have, and if the situation were to rise again, if the tool were to fail, or if things were to otherwise go very bad, the videotape is not going to help your cause.

              As someone else said, if things go bad, and they do, this may be a hinderance to the service you provide, even if it were through no fault of your own.

              As for the liability of recording persons w/out their knowledge ... as far as I know, as long as you don't record voice (disable the mic), and as long as you are not recording them in a situation in which a reasonable person would expect privacy, you are okay (at least in PA).

              Stay Safe

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              • #8
                Should you go through the crowd on scene and confiscate all of their cameras? They are taking pictures and videotaping you without your consent. Want to bet if something went wrong, that tape would show up mysteriously? Granted, bystanders will not have as close a view point as one of our own camera operators (I hope). Should you be afraid of the tape showing something being done, no, not if it is justified as the best possible option. Personally, we have a department photographer but no videographer. The snapshot's help for training purposes and lead to good discussions (as many of the shots from this website have also), video I think would lead to watching and not discussing as much.
                "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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