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Home > Topics > EMS Management

Personal cell phones banned for Canadian medics

Officials say there was no specific incident that prompted the policy change

CBC News

WINNIPEG, Canada — Firefighters and paramedics in Winnipeg are no longer allowed to use their personal cellphones on the job.

The city confirms that it implemented its "electronics and camera use in the workplace" policy on Oct. 25, banning emergency personnel from using their personal phones while they are working.

Full story: Personal cell phones banned for Canadian medics

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Shannon Marie Shannon Marie Thursday, November 01, 2012 9:54:53 AM When we have down time there is no legitimate reason we cannot use our phones.
Bob Erixon Bob Erixon Thursday, November 01, 2012 9:57:05 AM I think it is a good idea but the depts should have dept cell phones for fire and ems use only.You are hired to work for the city, county, state. Not to talk or text at work.
Brodie Verworn Brodie Verworn Thursday, November 01, 2012 10:06:43 AM The advent of the cellphone/smartphone in day to day operations is a huge positive thing, to ban them seems a hugely uneducated decision. Yes, ban them while driving, but in the back, everything from calling the e.r. doing your prehospital briefing, calling for additional orders, disclosing personal/private information on your patient or situation that you wouldnt normally say over the air. My smartphone has a number of ems apps on it, from protocols, epocraties for meds, drug math calculators, egc references, and the equivalent to a broselow tape. I also let pts use my phone to contact people to meet them at the hospital. And last, the use of the cameea is so important. I will quickly get a couple shots of the scene or vehicle on a major trauma to show the doctors where the pt. Was pulled from. Also, 'poor mans telemetry' taking a photo of the 12-leadhouse and texting it to the er to either a duty nurse or hospital email that is accessible in the e.r.
Ed Hillenbrand Ed Hillenbrand Thursday, November 01, 2012 10:26:55 AM Uhmmm... how do we contact medical control? As an SCT Medic my phone has many apps I use daily, not limited to an EMS tracker for my times. I had an Opps manager that tried that once, our medical director DID tell him off and not to mess with the medics. He was an EMT. Didn't work out well.
Bill R. Young Bill R. Young Thursday, November 01, 2012 10:27:51 AM My question is how do they enforce it?
Kim Vierra Kim Vierra Thursday, November 01, 2012 10:33:09 AM I agree with you Brode, and commend you for bein so thorough with your scenes and your patients.WE NEED MORE EMS PROVIDERS LIKE YOU!
Brandon Darnell Brandon Darnell Thursday, November 01, 2012 10:33:25 AM Bill I guess they will take your phone from you like a little kid when you get to work
Sharon Brooks Sharon Brooks Thursday, November 01, 2012 10:46:09 AM I see both sides, and must admit that in the office, while I am EARNING my paycheck doing paperwork, it really irritates me listening to others phones "beeping" "chirping" or whatever noise it makes for texting. Just my humble opinion, but if you are texting or “social webbing” on company time, you are not earning your paycheck. And I think store checkout clerks as well as many other occupations would agree. There are so many things that you could be doing with your time that are work related between calls, and go home knowing; you did earn your paycheck that day :-)
Ron Callihan Ron Callihan Thursday, November 01, 2012 11:04:44 AM Who are you sucking up to? ... Brodie hit the nail on the head!
Michael Fredrick Roy Michael Fredrick Roy Thursday, November 01, 2012 11:48:55 AM Well Sharon in the office it may irritate you, but my office rolls down the road and instead of pushing a pencil I push dangerous meds. I use my phone to help the healthcare team have the right people in place at the ER when you have your PE because of your office job.
Kurt Maytum Kurt Maytum Thursday, November 01, 2012 12:16:43 PM Agree Brodie 100% Foolish uninformed action. Glad I live in the U.S.
Steven Murphy Steven Murphy Thursday, November 01, 2012 12:40:52 PM We have had a policy like this for a long time. Now we can carry a phone but if we are assigned to a call, we can not use our cell phones. They did recently amend this to use the phone to look up protocols through an app or to use a reference guide like Epocrates. We can't take, make a call, text, or of course take a picture. even of a horrific MVA to show a Doc for example. We also now can not use our phones if we are driving a department vehicle even when not assigned to a call. It is a good policy.
Steven Murphy Steven Murphy Thursday, November 01, 2012 12:45:41 PM Forgot to add, most of the stuff people have commented about the importance of use during a call is not valid with our department, short of taking a picture of a scene (which I think should be allowed as long as patient isn't in the pic) we can do everything else over our radio system or WiFi in our trucks like transmit 12 Leads, etc. I also have to agree with the posts that if cellular is needed for this, it should be a department phone mounted in the truck. I really see no need for personal phone use during a call. Why would you use a device you personally pay for for official use?
Anne Krippner Akers Falaschi Anne Krippner Akers Falaschi Thursday, November 01, 2012 5:27:42 PM So what's wrong with personal calls during down times? This is ridiculous and another way to control people. The job is hard enough with long hours, dangerous situations, patients with all sorts of issues without the management or government dictating when to make a personal contact....
Rich Kelleher Rich Kelleher Thursday, November 01, 2012 6:45:26 PM Policy, politics, and obsurd decision makers with out common sense. We are professionals, and guidelines should be enough to protect the distractions and confidentiality the city seems to be concerned and focused on. The article does not say whether the city service provides cell phones for the Paramedics to use for communications. I agree with Brodie in regards to the many uses the cellphones can assist in patient care and the city should consider the possible alteration to the delivery of standard of care this policy may invoke.
Anne Krippner Akers Falaschi Anne Krippner Akers Falaschi Thursday, November 01, 2012 7:18:48 PM I've had to on several occasions and I might add, I was happy to do so!
Todd Soard Todd Soard Thursday, November 01, 2012 7:20:07 PM Brodie, you very correct. I believe the City here has went over board with this policy and should just restrict it to driving and pictures with no patients seen. Training will be effected as well will communications. This seems to be a policy just slammed through without looking at the need for cell use during work.
Steven Murphy Steven Murphy Friday, November 02, 2012 2:05:46 AM Why? Does your department not provide adequate communications?
Anne Krippner Akers Falaschi Anne Krippner Akers Falaschi Friday, November 02, 2012 5:20:07 AM Of course they do, but I consider it helpful if the patient needs to make a personal call, like to a relative. Doesn't total patient care also involve moral support?
Jim Benson Jim Benson Friday, November 02, 2012 6:36:12 AM You can also check resp. and heart rate
Katie Martensen Katie Martensen Friday, November 02, 2012 8:47:29 AM There where time flying or on the streets where it came in as an important part of talking with the er or on turn around flights, bad call I think! er
Andy Lyndon Andy Lyndon Friday, November 02, 2012 9:44:30 AM We are away from our family for 24 hours at a time, that little bit of communication(of course on down time) maybe what keeps our relationships together, or a major incident like 9-11 families would like to know if their family members which are first responders are ok. a simple I'm ok and hang up. We had a tornado in our district very close to my home. I just texted my wife quickly to make sure they were ok. Come on guys a little common sense goes a long way!
Doug Torres Doug Torres Friday, November 02, 2012 12:09:09 PM Bob I don't know about you but I have people who care about me and people I care about as well, I know its rare but sometimes OUR family members get ill too and the peace of mind obtained by checking in on them helps my day go better. The way it's going they will soon tell us when to use the bathroom with minimum fluid output requirements and all that good stuff. Get real dude we got insurance companies biting our asses on one cheek and management, HR and all the other goober schnoobers nibbling on the other. Enough is enough, they tax our smokes, our checks the interest we earn on what litttle you manage to save and tell us when we can use OUR PERSONAL PROPERTY.....really ddude you believ this is a good idea EH!
Khaja Munawer Ali Khaja Munawer Ali Saturday, November 03, 2012 5:04:39 AM Yes I agree.
Trevor Putterill Trevor Putterill Monday, November 05, 2012 8:01:57 AM I surely would not comply.
Meri Kassner-Gomez Meri Kassner-Gomez Tuesday, November 06, 2012 6:05:01 AM Are you even a first responder Bob? Do you have any ide what we do day in and day out?
Meri Kassner-Gomez Meri Kassner-Gomez Tuesday, November 06, 2012 6:07:49 AM That is why phones have vibrate and silent modes. :) I always put mine on vibrate when I'm working so it doesn't disturb other people when I get an email or text message.
Sharon Brooks Sharon Brooks Tuesday, November 06, 2012 11:06:43 AM Michael Fredrick Roy - I guess you assume I am strictly office - NOT SO! I also utilize my skills and training as an AEMT and EARN my paycheck in the back of an ambulance, pushing drugs as needed! It is just in our small rural town, we have only had 8 calls for this month, and with those calls comes paperwork and billing, which I do all our service bills besides patient care. As far as report to hospital or asking for permission, that is what the radio is for!
Sharon Brooks Sharon Brooks Tuesday, November 06, 2012 11:14:13 AM Meri - so do I, maybe that is why it is so irritating to me. Especially when we recently were cleaning and rearranging the bay, the "co-worker" that was supposed to be helping me would move and item, text, move and item text. I finally asked if all was ok, because we would have completed the task at hand in about 1/3 of the time IF we had just gotten it done, rather than the texting hold ups. I had other things to get accomplished that day, and didn’t get it all completed because of their lack of “help”. As a recent widow, 2 years, and 3 children still at home, I understand the need of my children being able to get a hold of me or at least leave me messages while at work. After all, cancer made me a “solo” parent to grieving teenagers, and I have no back up.
Greg Friese Greg Friese Friday, November 30, 2012 5:57:29 PM Wonder how this ban is going?
Dan White Dan White Friday, November 30, 2012 6:03:07 PM Bet 10 USD they all hide them.

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