What do you guys do for deceased victims that are on the roadway? cover or not to cover, its been a battle between the PD and the FD in our department. The PD says if we cover a body we could contaminate the crime scene, so they say not to cover them, and in the last couple of weeks we were told that we (the FD) would be going back to covering them, buts its been also asked of us to come up with some sort of screen (handmade or commercial) that could be used. What do you guys use out there? do you cover or not? looking for some ideas that would be:
Compact size - must be carried on all apparatus
If Disposable – must be inexpensive
If Reusable – must be durable
Commercially available options are eligible (although internally produced screens will probably have an advantage due to cost)
stand up in high winds and poor weather
Definately disposable. Any reusable cover would run the risk of cross contamination from previous MVAs if not thoroughly cleaned. If the case went to court, you could be required to produce documentation about your cleaning methods and a good defense attorney could have any blood evidence thrown out if they found your records lacking. We use disposable EMS cover sheets in B'ham. They are individually wrapped paper backed plastic sheets. They are cheap and flimsy but they do the job.
cover, Unless it is obviousely a crime scene i.e. gunshots or something, then PD makes that call. We usually wait for EMS to arrive and hook up and look for flat line, then they can call it. But if it's obvious, we do it. Same as above, we use a cot sheet.
I have NEVER heard of any issues between police and EMS or any other responding agencies on this. It seems downright immorale to leave an uncovered victim in the middle of a highway with who knows what type of injuries and morbidity. Besides, it would seem that as part of a triage, the "crime scene" will already be somewhat compromised as we move through the scene assessing victims. A simple sheet, which will be taken with the victim, shouldn't cause too much of an issue if it IS clearly a motor vehicle crash.
For victims of Ped vs. MV we still must approach and assess for vital signs. If it is an obvious DOA, then covering with a sheet is done.
However, if it is on a remote road, in a ditch, obvious DOA with an unknown time frame, as in circumstances that indicate a potential crime scene, that's a whole different story.
To avoid this, a little inter-action, training between the fire/ems agency and the police department goes a LONG WAY to help each other understand the needs, and why .
We use the sheet off the cot to cover the victim. Unless it is a crime scene but we usually can talk to the local PD and we work things out as necessary. Check vitals, and if the patient is DOA then we cover them up.
If it's on a roadway and PD does not want the DAS covered, then you have to position SOMETHING between the DAS and on-lookers. You would start having secondary crashes if you didn't.
Contaminate the scene? Listen; many nationally known comedians have come out of the PD ranks and that's why.
Instead of saying: "we don't like youz guyz muckin' up our scene"; they will say something illogical and funny to distract you into agreeing to it.
Work with them on it, but I can't see traumatizing a six year old who can get a good, long look at a corpse simply because of a pissing contest between PD and FD.