Pokémon Go adds to EMS workload, but medics join virtual monster hunt
The popular mobile game has lead some players into real-world injuries
PLANO, Texas — Since the wildly popular Pokémon Go app was released last week, emergency services personnel across the United States and Canada have observed an increase in accidents and injuries associated with mobile phone use.
The mobile game uses the smartphone’s GPS to lead players to real-world locations to collect in-game monsters. The app encourages users to explore public places like parks and local landmarks, but has also been linked to incidents where player safety was threatened.
In response to the recent Pokemon-related accidents, various public safety officials have made posts on social media encouraging players to stay vigilant while using their phones.
Even so, more than a few players have run into trouble while using the game to explore unfamiliar locations.
A Wyoming teen discovered a body while exploring a Pokémon hot spot near the Wind River. Another young woman was nearly abducted because she appeared to be distracted by the game.
The Oregonian reports that a 22-year-old player was stabbed while using the app -- and even kept playing after the fact.
txt from mum on paramedic duty: "just picked up 2 guys who had been in a fight over that #pokemongo thing, 1 got taken to with a crow bar"— Aimee Bell (@aimzbell) July 10, 2016
"Biggest fear is that someone will die. Someone will cross the street not see the vehicle, not see the cyclist,” J.P. Trottier, an Ottawa-based paramedic said to CBC News. “You have to be aware of your surroundings at all times and being glued to your phone certainly does not help."
Some EMTs have even joined the craze, posting on social media about playing the game in between calls. Many report that their police, fire, and EMS stations are listed as in-game landmarks where new Pokemon can be found.