Fire EMS, Firefighting, Legal

Responding to Scenes of Violence

Issue 9 and Volume 165.

By STEVEN C. HAMILTON Scenario: You respond to a residence for a reported suicide attempt with no information other than the individual had lacerated his wrists. When your department arrives on scene, do you and your personnel attempt to make contact with the occupant and render aid or stage your apparatus away from the scene, awaiting arrival of law enforcement officers to deem the scene safe? Can this scene be hazardous? Are there indications from dispatch that this is a scene of violence? What if the response had nothing to do with a suicide but rather it was a call for a victim of an assault outside of an apartment complex? Is that a scene of violence? Fire and emergency medical services (EMS) respond to scenes of violence every day, and the consequences of not being prepared can be significant. Ask any firefighter whether he would conduct a primary search…

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