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  1. #1
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    Default Man down, stop or not?

    I was driving by my local DMV in williamsburg and saw a man lying on his back on the concrete near a bus stop. So I thought hey, he's just resting for a second (it was hot yesterday) but I just realized he wasn't moving, so I just drove around the block and came back around and I stopped my car and asked him if he was okay, guess what: no response.
    So I being to notice it looked like his sunglasses were knocked off, you know how you turn over on the couch with you sunglasses on and try to go to sleep but the arms hurt your face, so I pull in the driveway of DMV and call 911.
    My medkit (just basic 1st responder stuff) is in my trunk, it hasn't been used so it's begging to see sunlight, but when I call 911 dispatch, they tell me not to get out! So this guy could be dead or on his way, but I was told not to get out because I could get involved in a court lawsuit if he was dead or something. So I just sit there watching the guy, stuned as heck, and decided I was going to get my EMT ASAP and start volunteering again (i am in between departments)!!!!
    Anyways another person walking the sidewalks finally saw him and began shouting to see if he was ok, he began to call 911 when they pulled up, finally I see the guy moving. I don't know if the guy had a heatstroke or what, but he was out.
    So the reason for this posting is: Is it right to fear a "lawsuit" or court case instead of getting out and conducting our skills that we were taught to use in this situation?
    Last edited by 6Duron1; 06-02-2011 at 09:37 AM.
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  2. #2
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    You have to love some 911 call takers

    If it was thier loved one they would be going nuts for someone to help them

    Yes you can be sued ask mcdonalds about thier hot coffee

    Check good samaritan laws in your state and check with a local ems chief

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    Check good samaritan laws in your state
    This. Here in NS, you cannot be sued for rendering help unless it it grossly outside of your abilities. For example, if you checked his pulse, noted he had none and began CPR (which you have been qualified to perform) but cracked a few ribs you cannot be sued. However, if you checked his airway, noted he was choking, then decided to break out your trusty pocket knife and perform a tracheotomy... well, you better hope to god you do it right and that the individual recovers 100%, because you can be sued into the ground and criminally charged for attempting medical procedures that you are obviously utterly incapable of performing - regardless of how many episodes of ER you've watched.

  4. #4
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Virginia's Good Samaritan Law:



    http://www.arlingtonva.us/Department...m00.vaoems.pdf




    Be govern accordingly
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  5. #5
    Forum Member EastKyFF's Avatar
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    Ask these guys if doing nothing is a good option.
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”
    --General James Mattis, USMC


  6. #6
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    Yeah this happened last night after I read about this at work, less than 2 hours later. not good. Yeah I knew VA had some kind of good samiritan laws just didn't know the specifics. I am just glad he started moving around.
    Unit 71 - Probationary Firefighter / First Responder
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  7. #7
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    but when I call 911 dispatch, they tell me not to get out! So this guy could be dead or on his way, but I was told not to get out because I could get involved in a court lawsuit if he was dead or something.
    Really? 911 dispatch telling you not to help as you may be involved in a lawsuit?

    You just gave that guy and/or his family reason to start a lawsuit against the 911 service.
    "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?

  8. #8
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    I'm not surprised about the response from the call taker. So many agencies across the US have had to adopt policies like this based on their perceived threat of liability....after consultation with their attorney of course. It's a shame that it's come down to rules like this at some PSAP's.
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  9. #9
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    There are states where a civilian does not have legal protections, such as New York, where only EMT and above is protected by Good Samaritan legislation.

    I always will stop for a possible EMS situation, though in LA, there is no legal requirement to stop, even if trained and EMS certified, unless you are on-duty, which under the law specifies you are being paid. My department requires we stop out of district if we are in a department vehicle or in a department t-shirt visable to the public.

    One thing to remember is to carefully scan the situation and surroundings before rendering aid as you may be stepping into a dangerous situation.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

  10. #10
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    yeah I looked at it, it was at one of the bus stops, and tahats why I drove up to him before even thinking about getting out of my car. He legs were on the street and he was laying in the grass. Now that I think about it, his arms were bent toward his body.
    Unit 71 - Probationary Firefighter / First Responder
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6Duron1 View Post
    yeah I looked at it, it was at one of the bus stops, and tahats why I drove up to him before even thinking about getting out of my car. He legs were on the street and he was laying in the grass. Now that I think about it, his arms were bent toward his body.
    One thing to remember is that unless you have recieved a card in that state, you are still only certified to operate in LA. You have no rights in the state of VA to operate in that state at the level you operated here.

    So technically, you are not certified to render aid. Keep that in mind.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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    I wasn't going to do First responder stuff, I was getting ready for CPR!
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6Duron1 View Post
    I wasn't going to do First responder stuff, I was getting ready for CPR!
    All I'm saying is be careful about what you do because you are now living in state where you are not certified.

    Just think before you act.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 06-02-2011 at 10:26 PM.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber LVFD301's Avatar
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    I can understand the 911 call taker possibly stating that the caller should not get involved - as a matter of protecting the caller from possible harm if the situation became ugly - as it could do.

    They call taker knew help was on the way, it was in an area that should enjoy a fairly rapid response (bus stops are usually in areas that are not that rural) and the call taker has no real idea about the caller or their capabilities.

    With all that said - what is the reason for the question? Was there a question? Is humanity even alive out there still? You see a man down, you at least perform a cursory check. Hell, hit the airhorn and see if there is a response. (or whatever you are equipped with)

    Hell, even LA says he would stop and render aid. Maybe traffic control while he waited for real responders.

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    Duron you are stupid, you shoulda got out and shown them how we southern boys does it!
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    Seriously, not qualified to render aid? Not qualified to check if a guy is dead or alive, maybe apply pressure to a bleeding wound? You are talking about first responder level stuff here not brain surgery. Almost everyone is capable of rendering first responder level aid.

  17. #17
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Ignore anything LA moron tells you. He's the same guy who blatently said he would not help a child out of a burning car outside his own district because workmans comp wouldn't cover him if he got a sunburn. He's probably the dispatcher that told you not to help.

    This is the most asinine thing I've ever heard. Nowhere in any dispatch protocol does it encourage the caller not to help. The whole point is to provide PRE-ARRIVAL HELP.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    Nowhere in any dispatch protocol does it encourage the caller not to help. The whole point is to provide PRE-ARRIVAL HELP.
    I respectfully disagree with this, as a former comm center supervisor and training officer. Many agencies are varying their approach to handling callers who wish to get involved, for fear of being sued by a good samaritan who was "told" by the dispatcher to do something.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    I respectfully disagree with this, as a former comm center supervisor and training officer. Many agencies are varying their approach to handling callers who wish to get involved, for fear of being sued by a good samaritan who was "told" by the dispatcher to do something.
    Extremely huge difference in being "told" to do something and being "told" not to.

    Basic humanity should lead you to do something more than worry about getting sued.

    Society is doomed.
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  20. #20
    Forum Member EastKyFF's Avatar
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    Exactly, Bones. The call taker wouldn't have to say anything if he/she wasn't asked by the caller. If the caller does say, "What should I do?" the call taker only needs to say, "I can't advise or order you to do anything. Help is on the way." No liability there, but the caller has not been ORDERED to do or not do anything.

    As emergency personnel, we know a little more than John or Jane Q. Public. For example, most civilians who would bother to help might not think to watch for a weapon when rolling over the patient. So our action might prevent a less qualified person from getting hurt.

    Use your judgment and good sense, but for crying out loud, check on the patient.
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”
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