Skip to main content

Developed and maintained
by the NFCC

Control measure

Maintain the privacy and dignity of the casualty

Control measure knowledge

Incidents could result in the exposure of a casualty to members of the public or the media, resulting in a breach of the casualty's privacy. It is an important principle, for all emergency services, to maintain and protect the privacy and dignity of the casualty.

The benefits of protecting the scene from members of the public or the media include:

  • Prevention of the casualty's identity being compromised, possibly to their relatives or friends, via the media, including television and social media
  • Protection of the dignity of the casualty, especially if their clothing has to be removed for them to receive medical treatment
  • Avoiding unnecessary distress of other emergency responders, other casualties and uninvolved members of the public, particularly over a large scene
  • Protecting the scene affords a degree of privacy for the medical teams, allowing them to work efficiently and without distraction

Methods of screening include:

  • Positioning vehicles to provide a visual barrier
  • Attaching equipment to street furniture or vehicles
  • Deploying personnel to hold salvage sheets, tarpaulins or canvas screens
  • Erecting a temporary shelter
  • Providing overhead protection to restrict aerial views

Alternatively, it may be necessary to extend the cordon to a sufficient distance, so that the scene cannot be viewed, photographed or filmed.

 

Scene screened off to preserve dignity of casualties - photograph courtesy of Rodney Vitalis

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Consider providing fire and rescue service vehicles with equipment that could be used to provide screening at an incident involving a casualty

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Consider screening casualties from other people

  • Use available equipment to provide a screened-off area for the casualty and medical responders

  • Consider extending cordons to a sufficient distance to prevent photography or filming of the casualty