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Home > Topics > EMS Management
February 26, 2010

SC firefighter-paramedic fired over Facebook video post

Department Director calls the video derogatory and said Jason Brown had 'displayed poor judgment'

Editor's note: It's interesting to see how our workplace is evolving. With the advent of social media venues, it's becoming increasingly difficult to have "off duty" communications. These days, prospective employers are increasingly looking at communication links such as blogs and social meeting sites to find out information about prospective employees. There is no expectation of privacy when you post; even when "opting out" or turning on privacy controls, information can still get out. While this case does not revolve around this specific point, the lesson learned is a similar one when using that old-fashioned technology known as e-mail: Make sure that you won't mind showing whatever you wrote to your parent/spouse/significant other/child because whatever you made might just show up in front of them. More specific to this article, it will be interesting to see if the department's code of conduct applies to its employees both on and off duty. And, if there is more to the story than what is seen in the headlines. What's your take on the dismissal and video? Was the department heavy-handed in its decision to terminate or was Firefighter-Medic Brown stupid to post the video where it could be viewed publically? Share your views below.   

                                                                                                         Art Hsieh, EMS1 Editorial Advisor

By EMS1 Staff

COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. — A firefighter-paramedic has been fired over a video he posted on Facebook of an exchange between two cartoon characters at a hospital.

Live5News reported that Jason Brown created the three-minute clip — featuring a responder and a doctor — on an animation program before posting it on the social networking Web site.

After being alerted to the clip, his supervisors at Colleton County, S.C., Fire-Rescue terminated his employment.

Colleton County Fire-Rescue Director Barry McRoy called the video "derogatory" in the letter of termination and that Brown had "displayed poor judgment."

Brown told Live5News the clip was created as an exaggerated version of real-life experiences EMS faces.

"It's just general things that go on in the day-to-day business of us running calls within any fire department, any EMS," he told the station.

The clip opens with a firefighter-paramedic arriving at a hospital following a 911 call by the doctor. He tells the responder, "We have a patient that needs to be transported to another hospital ASAP." When the responder asks what is wrong with the patient, he is told, "The patient has a cold and a runny nose."

In the letter of termination, which is hosted on Live5News.com, McRoy said Brown has displayed behavior unbecoming of an employee at the department.

"This video has created an embarrassing situation for this department, our public image and the cooperative relationship we enjoy with Colleton Medical Center," he added. "It reflects poorly on you and Colleton County."

Brown told Live5News the video was not based on any specific colleagues within the department or staff at the medical center, and that he had only used the last name of a doctor — where the cartoon says, "Don't tell Dr. Ward on me," toward the end of the clip — having met him at a party.

When contacted by Live5News, McRoy said the Facebook incident wasn't the only reason for dismissal, but Brown said the letter of termination contradicted this.

His appeal against the Feb. 11 dismissal was rejected by the department.

Comments
The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of EMS1.com or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Jon Cook Jon Cook Sunday, October 14, 2012 12:14:28 PM Excuse me, but nhe only did what we all have felt at 3 in the morning, and last time I checked the RITE to FREE speach was still a valid document.
Mark Kuzmic Mark Kuzmic Sunday, October 14, 2012 12:29:02 PM I would agree with derogatory and poor judgement. Social media is a great tool but if you are in a pubic service profession, i.e. fire fighter or medic, and idientify yourself as such within that socail media, you have the responsibility to protect the image of your employer and profession. If you don't like (love) the job, then LEAVE. There are plenty of other men and women waiting for your exit.
Dennis Blackman Dennis Blackman Sunday, October 14, 2012 4:45:57 PM Free speech is one thing but this guy made the whole medical profession look like crap, not just the FF. If this guy wasn't fired because of freedom of speech, he should've been fired for being dumb. This was a really bad decision. If that's his opinion of what happens, then he needs a new profession and it appears Colleton County obliged him.
Thomas A. Burke Thomas A. Burke Sunday, October 14, 2012 5:45:18 PM Right thinking will be rewarded. Wrong thinking will be punished. George Orwell, 1984.
Elizabeth Terry Elizabeth Terry Sunday, October 14, 2012 9:21:00 PM Well yes we do have the right for free speech so I have something to say open your heart and stop hating me yes I am sorry for my behafe and I am not perfect but we all struggle sometimes
Sara G. Templeton Sara G. Templeton Monday, October 15, 2012 3:18:53 AM it's funny. being fired was an over reaction.
Chris Burge Chris Burge Tuesday, October 23, 2012 12:32:28 AM I am not real sure what is a terminating offense for making a cute cartoon. Did he identify the hospital specifically or his agency? Just because he is a FF-PM doesn't disallow him the freedom to comment/express an opinion on derelict EDs. There are plenty of examples of stupid stuff posted on social media that will get you canned. But just viewing this cartoon, I am not seeing it. Is Dr. Ward a real person affiliated with Colleton Hospital, well them maybe. Otherwise, I would say, so much for civil service or union support.
George Delaney George Delaney Wednesday, November 21, 2012 1:01:16 PM WTF fired for telling the truth, I have been in EMS 30+ years I know docs who transport emergent hang nails or are the "treat with diesel" parainoid ED Dr's because they lack …… well whatever for treating the patient. And as for all the holier than thou suck up's out there..... they are just full of themselves EVERYONE feels or will feel this way at some point in there career once in awhile. If he did it this way and didn't identify anyone so be it. As to making “bad” judgment call, Freedom of Speech also means Freedom to View SUCK IT UP don't't watch it! Fireing that is between the tech and his supervisor. As long as he kept his head bit his lip and handled it professionally in the field. This guy may be a good practitioner then to me that would be the problem or loss, this guy may not or can't come back.
George Delaney George Delaney Wednesday, November 21, 2012 2:10:27 PM George Delaney · Montana State University. WTF fired for telling the truth, I have been in EMS 30+ years I know docs who transport emergent hang nails or are the "treat with diesel" parainoid ED Dr's because they lack …… well whatever for treating the patient. And as for all the holier than thou suck up's out there..... they are just full of themselves EVERYONE feels or will feel this way at some point in there career once in awhile. If he did it this way and didn't identify anyone so be it. As to making “bad” judgment call, Freedom of Speech also means Freedom to View SUCK IT UP don't't watch it! Fireing that is between the tech and his supervisor. As long as he kept his head bit his lip and handled it professionally in the field. This guy may be a good practitioner then to me that would be the problem or loss, this guy may not or can't come back.
Logan Delaney Logan Delaney Wednesday, November 21, 2012 2:20:52 PM that's so bull they fire people over the dumbest shit eva.
Angel Wood-Dagon Whistler Angel Wood-Dagon Whistler Sunday, November 25, 2012 9:48:18 AM Is that Andrea...no, it's Kayla....who is Courtney ....Bahahahahaha! QUIT TRYING TO SCAM PEOPLE...SPEND THAT ENERGY TO LEARN HOW TO TYPE & SPELL. By the way...wishing death from someone's illness...gets you what you deserve. We'll help out by posting this all over for you. :D Logan says... since january 1st 2012 me my girlfriend and are 2 year old son sam have been homeless in california and we have been doing everything we can do to make ends meet we had a car tell it blew up on us lost everything in it like are clothing kids toys car seat even the car we were on a list to get a place and still waiting on that. i have been trying to start my company up and then thats when the car went on us and its just really hard to get are kid around with no car. my list involves. getting clothing for the three of us. getting a car so that we can get around and get work. getting my kids toys. and if we havnt got a place by the time we get all of that then getting a place. PATHETIC!
John Vo John Vo Sunday, March 31, 2013 6:04:05 AM I guess shut up, do your job.

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