There are situations that result in the exposure of a casualty to members of the public or the media; as a result, the casualty's privacy can be breached.
It is an important principle for all emergency services to maintain and protect the privacy and dignity of the casualty.
The benefits for protecting the scene from members of the public, or the media are:
- 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 and allows them to work efficiently and without distraction
Some improvised methods of erecting screens could include:
- Positioning vehicles to provide a visual barrier
- Attaching equipment to street furniture or vehicles
- Deploying personnel to hold sheets, tarpaulins or screens
- Providing overhead protection to restrict aerial views.
Scene screened off to preserve dignity of casualties - photograph courtesy of Rodney Vitalis