I would like some feedback on an event that really made my blood boil. Tell me if I'm over reacting. 
I was on a rescue call for a rollover yesterday, one person with injuries, we assisted the ambulance in loading the patient and sent them on their way to our local hospital. We returned to the station and were paged out for a transfer from our local nursing home to the hospital. We went there for the patient, and took them to the hospital. I began filling out paperwork on our run sheets. The first crew was still up there with the rollover. One of the crew was "texting" just outside the first ER bed. This young EMT of ours also texts in the rig, and was warned not to on calls. I'm asking for feedback here. We are a paid vol dept and I feel there is NO room for this while on a run, period. If I'm out of bounds here let me know. If I'm in the right I plan on bringing this up at our next fire meeting and address it.

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Definetly something to be addressed with the individual and maybe addressed as a department by impletmenting or updating current policy/SOG to cover this issue.

Currently our policy is phones off while on any apparatus. My preference would be no phones while on shift, but we are still allowing them to be used in the station. This is due to the large number of people that its their only means on communcation is by cell phone.



What this boils down to is what is already in place (SOG/P, orders, by-laws, etc) and what the company/station officer says.


If there are no rules in place by the dept regarding this, then being upset becomes your problem. If the company officer says something, then the rules should be followed, yet it is the company officer's decision, not yours.


For example we had a previous chief who instituted a rule that a collared shirt has to be worn on all calls.....even at 3am. This rule was rescinded by the next chief, however, we still have some company officers who have their crew wearing the shirts. Despite the rule is not dept wide, it is still the order of the company officer.


Similar thing in the military when I served. There was nothing from the top command, from the base, etc saying you could not wear coveralls on the pier. However, my command made the rule that you could not wear coveralls on the pier, even if going to another ship......yet someone from another command could and there was nothing our command could say about it.




So in this case, if there is nothing written down, then there is nothing to fall back on. You may have said something to this person before, but that becomes your rule. You already said you were on a different rig, so that would mean you were not this EMT's officer. If the rig officer didn't have a problem, then that is their decision.


So in the end you can and should bring this up, and have something in place regarding texting and when and where they could do so. Otherwise, there really is not much else you can say about it.


my goodness for a young emt or firefighter to be texting during "down time"????? seems to be a bit much.  There is always something to do ALWAYS!  If not doing paper work or checking the rig why not observe what is going on around you and try to learn something.  Runing through the call in my head looking for things to improve on takes me at least a couple of hours afterwards.  Being glued to a cell phone in my opinion shows a general lack of interest to me.  But what the heck do i know, im only 29.

Personally, I'm a textaholic, however, if a member is on scene, the phone should be left in the rig period.  The public seeing a first responder texting may feel that they are not getting priority they deserve.  If waiting around at the hospital for your partner, and you're in the unit waiting, i don't see a problem with texting.  but while driving on a call (passenger and most importantly the driver) should not engage in texting. while responding to the call, the crew should concentrate on the directions and the call, not texting. If there is info to relay about the call, it should be conducted over the radio's, after all, that's why its there.   Texting at the finish of a call in the hospital, should be done in the lounge or out by the rig, but never where patients could see.   Patients might feel they are texting about them and get upset.  Like mentioned before, major PR nightmare.  I feel, phones should be left in the rig and not brought into any hospital, call or scene.  First responders must portray professionalism, and texting in public view while in the field on a call, or finishing a call and still in the hospital does not promote professionalism.  While I was on duty, I would ensure the cell was in the rig at all times while on a call, and the ringer was always silent or vibrate, but would not touch the phone until concluding the call and back in the rig, but never while driving.

I only allow my personnel to text on scene if it pertains to the call, the department, or for an emergency. I have a zero tolerance policy in effect for screwing off.

Very good points!
If you have PT contact or have a task to fulfill NO. But if you are coming back from a call and ARENT driving then I dont see an issue UNLESS your dept has rules for something like this.

If the crew is not on a call, and are not driving, than I don't see a problem sending a text, unless there are SOP's against it. but while on a call, I feel there should be no texts.  I don't understand the texting for call information, when that is why there are radio communications for pertinent call info, and should be done via radio, its more proper. Some agencies might allow testing call info to other units, but my feeling, is its better to use the radio to submit call info rather than texting, which  can take longer and might have some interpretation issues as well.  I don't have an issue with other agencies who allow it, but I personally feel call info should be done via radio rather than text anyhow.

Our Chief has stated more than once so people constantly know NOT to use ones phone while on a scene. It's never happened with us, but he just reminds everyone time to time so no one forgets.

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