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
We use sheets. In Ohio, if this is an MVA, the fire department is in charge until WE turn the scene over to law enforcement. This is per the Ohio revised code. If this is a crime scene, all bets are off, law enforcement is in charge.
WE COVER THE PERSON,USUALLY EMS IS RIGHT THERE ANYHOW.WE HAD PRETYY BAD MVA DURING A BAD RAINSTRORM ONE NIGHT-CAR WAS TBONED-AFTER EXTRICATING THE ONE PERSON-PASSENGER WAS DOS AND REALLY TORE UP-SHP DID THE INVESTIGATION-THEY LET THE FLAT BED WRECKER HAUL THE CAR TO A NEARBY CHURCH PARKING LOT OFF OF THE HIGHWAY- WHERE WE FINISHED CUTTING OPEN THE CAR AND REMOVED THE VICTIM-WE EVEN STOOD AROUND THE CAR WITH SHEETS-(LOT WAS VISIBLE FROM HWY)
We Cover the patient with a cot sheet is they are DOA. But most of the time this isnt an issue as, on major highways our fire dept protocal is to use apparatus to inclose the scene in this situation, of course you have to keep access for medic and coroner, and PD to do there work, but i deff agree with all of you, it's just not morally right to leave them in the middle of the road uncovered, that would be a sad thing for a friend to happen to go by and see there dead friend in such raw shape, wouldnt you agree
In Texas, a fatality on the roadway IS a crime scene until ruled otherwise by the ME and DA. There is always a chance of contamination so crews should be trained to disturb as little as possible. In my area, the roadway is closed until the body has been removed by the ME, and the scene is cleaned up. On the freeways where there is the probability of veiwing by opposing traffic, then the body is covered with a disposible sheet and if necessary, weighted on the edges with a couple of cribbing blocks which then become part of the crime scene until released.
We generally try to put a tarp up to keep the passerbys from staring and believe it or not from taking pictures. Our department does't run rescue so it is the rescue squad's responsiblity to remove the body. Generally they will go ahead and put them in the rescue squad or in a body bag. We don't seem to have an issue with the PD when it comes to this sort of thing.
I used to work for a PD before I became a FF. If we rolled up to a scene with a body in the road way we had a disposable yellow sheet that we would cover them with. Mostly used when it was raining out to PRESERVE evidence. Also the sheets had tape along the edges that could be peeled apart to stick to cars and such to cover windows or we would use guard rails or anything else they could stick to. Pretty handy little things come in little clear bags and you just rip open and deploy. I agree with some of the other comments though, your PD and FD need to have a little pow-wow and talk things out so you wont have any confusion.
we had a fatality of 14yr old a few months back. It wasn't a crime just a freak accident involving a four wheeler and a muddy ditch (he was a DOA). I wasn't on the run due to being on leave (pregnancy) but the guys who were pulled the youngster out of the ditch and cleaned him up for the familys sake, then covered him until further instruction was recieved. His parents were grateful for their work, and asked the fire dept to be present at his burial site that day so we went with all the trucks and lined up at the gate. Family, friends, and visitors alike all said that they'd never seen a dept reach out with their hearts the way ours did. They said they'd never forget the day they saw the hearts of our fire dept.