Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Cell phone prohibitions – Winnipeg, Canada; Baltimore, Maryland; and other reactionaries


No company policies were violated in the production and distribution of these images.

That’s my story – and I’m possibly even sticking to it.

The latest fad among fashionable emergency managers appears to be banning cell phones.

Can we misuse technology?

Of course.

Should we ban technology?

Only if we are incapable of responsible behavior.

What does that tell us about the places that are banning the use of cell phones on duty?

These managers are not to be trusted with responsibility.

It is refreshing to have management come right out and tell us that they are too irresponsible to be trusted.

Now we just need to get rid of those admitting to incompetence by banning cell phones or other technology.

You are a fire chief. You send a bunch of fire fighters to respond quickly to fires in a large truck that is capable of driving over most vehicles the public will be using on the same streets.

This is a much greater danger to the public than the possibility of release of personal information.

If these chiefs cannot manage the use of cell phones, how can they manage the use of fire trucks?

These chiefs should be fired.

You are an EMS chief. You send a bunch of paramedics out to treat patients with a variety of drugs, that are deadly when used inappropriately.

This is a much greater danger to the public than the possibility of release of personal information.

If these chiefs cannot manage the use of cell phones, how can they manage the use of medications?

These chiefs should be fired.

The danger of the people afraid of technology is greater than the danger of the technology.

Technology can be managed.

Stupidity is a much bigger problem.

Firegeezer sums it up in the beautifully titled –

“Just shut the %#*~& up!!”[1]

Several others have written about this.[2],[3],[4],[5],[6]

Then there are the people who would ban cell phones from classrooms, but Greg Friese tells us how to be smarter than the prohibitionists. We can use smart phones to help us teach.[7]

I would rather read what Greg Friese writes at Everyday EMS Tips and learn about how to use technology to help patients, rather than read some anti-technology drivel by someone who does not understand technology.

Obviously, nobody will ever be able to use a hidden camera to record what happens on scene if cell phones are prohibited.


Image credit.

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Image credit.

Ignorance is its own punishment, but ignorance also punishes others.

We need to stop lowering the lowest common denominator of employees and of managers.


[1] “Just shut the %#*~& up!!”
November 2, 2012

[2] Mourning The Loss of Free Speech, Ham-Handed Chiefs, and How We Got Here
November 16, 2012
Firehouse Zen

[3] Firehouse websites banned under new Baltimore social media policy. Critics also concerned about free speech issues.
November 2, 2012

[4] City Fire Department implements new social media policy. Union leaders, experts say provisions infringe on First Amendment rights
By Kevin Rector
The Baltimore Sun
8:10 p.m. EDT, November 2, 2012

[5] A New Danger in EMS?
Posted by daleloberger on November 1, 2012
High Performance EMS

[6] Cellphones off limits for firefighters, paramedics
CBC News
Posted: Oct 31, 2012 5:38 PM ET
Last Updated: Oct 31, 2012 6:51 PM ET

[7] Integrating Smartphones and Tablet Devices into EMS Education
Nov 1 2012 8:00AM
Room: 219
Category: Educator
Greg Friese, MS, NREMT-P
Thursday schedule – EMS Expo 2012

Most EMT and paramedic students arrive at class with a smartphone or tablet device they use to stay in touch with friends, family, and social networks. They use these devices to consume popular media, find and research references, and upload their own multimedia content about their work, academic, and personal experiences. Instead of banning these devices from the classroom or workplace, this session will focus on opportunities to integrate mobile devices into classroom, lab, and clinical experiences. The presenter will share and demonstrate top resources, software programs, apps, and best practices. The audience will have opportunities to share techniques that are working in their programs and discuss the risks and benefits of integrating mobile technology into EMS education.



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