The Wall Street Journal reported recently the trend of police agencies to use tarps and sheets to cover accident scenes and victims from passersby using social media. The article quotes Don Lundy, President of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians:
“In the last 10 years it has become pretty standard for us. We wish we didn’t have to do it.” The Journal goes on:
“You’ll see it at the site of particularly grisly automobile accidents. As the EMTs and other first responders struggle to free the victims from crushed cars and try to save their lives, other emergency workers—police officers, firefighters—stand in pairs, holding up blankets or tarps perpendicular to the pavement. “It’s necessary,” said Mr. Lundy, who is a full-time EMT in Charleston County, S.C. “I don’t think it’s that people have changed. It’s that the technology available to them wasn’t there before.” He was talking about something first responders witness daily, something that dismays them. As soon as there is a gruesome accident, pedestrians and passing motorists reflexively pull out their camera-equipped phones and begin taking photos and videos. “It’s like everyone is a reality-show producer,” Mr. Lundy said. ” ‘Look what I saw, it’s real gross.’ They can upload the pictures and have them seen around the world while we’re still trying to save the person trapped in the car.”
The newspaper reports that it’s not illegal to take or upload these photos, but it does create a concern for families involved in the violence or accidents. With today’s social media technology, it becomes a race between passersby shooting and uploading, and trying to find family members for proper notification.
For better and worse, social media continues to impact our culture…