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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.

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