By now, most of you EMS types have read about the South Carolina firefighter-paramedic who got fired over an Xtranormal text-to-movie video he posted on his Facebook page.
Opinions on the incident range from “Whatever happened to free speech?” to “Serves the idiot right.”
Without question, the video was in poor taste. It was profane, scatological, reflected poorly on EMS and the fire service, and played into every tired stereotype of paramedics and nursing home nurses. But hey, if poor taste and potty humor were a crime, I wouldn’t even have a blog.
In my opinion, Colleton County Fire Rescue’s administrators bungled the handling of the incident, and overreacted by firing the medic in question. My guess is that they had no formal policy on social media, but you can bet they, and others, will develop one after this brouhaha. Let’s hope the policies developed are more even-handed and well thought out than their handling of this incident.
Here at The Borg, we were reminded of our social media policy after this story hit the news. I can sum it up for you in one sentence: “Don’t act an ass in public while representing yourself as an agent of this organization.”
That’s pretty broad, and open to much interpretation, but that’s all that really needs to be said. When you post, respect patient confidentiality, don’t air your agency’s dirty laundry in public, and don’t make any statements you’d be ashamed to own, because there is no such thing as anonymity on the internet.
Above all, I think this guy’s biggest sin in posting this video is that it just wasn’t funny. Just another tired anti-nursing home rant, really, one of a gazillion such war stories told by paramedics every day.
I’ve seen a number of these videos across the blogosphere, and none of them are particularly funny. I’ve thought about making one myself, but they don’t have any pure EMT characters, only cops and firefighters, and I reject that on general principles.
Then again, the original was a pretty hard act to follow:[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_m64cy1MMPg[/youtube]