What Are His First And Middle Names, “Not So?”

By way of Statter 911, we get this video classic. If you're of a libertarian bent, watching this guy trying to throw his weight around under color of authority will probably make your head explode. If you're an EMT, firefighter or medic, it should just make you sad:


Captain Not So Smart of Miami Dade Fire Rescue proceeds to leave a scene he is purportedly in charge of, to engage in a pissing contest with a videographer on public property. In the process, Captain Not So Smart, makes an epic ass of himself, and by extension, his entire department.

At first, Captain Not So Smart pretends it is a patient privacy issue. For those of you unclear on the concept, let's cover this again:

  1. Non-healthcare personnel, like press or amateur videographers or a 14-year-old kid with  friggin' iPhone, are not covered entities under HIPAA.
  2. There is NO legal expectation of privacy in a public area.
  3. The videographer is far enough away that the only way you can identify the ambulances, fire trucks and helicopter are by paint schemes. You can't make out facial features at the distance he was recording anyway, and even if he could, the apparatus are positioned well enough to effectively cordon off the area from public view.

Soon into the encounter, Captain Not So Smart shifts tactics, and makes it a scene safety issue. Let's poke some holes in that argument, shall we?

  1. Miami Dade Fire Rescue may actually require establishing a no-entry zone for 300 feet in all directions, as Captain Not So Smart alludes to in the video. If so, the videographer is close to that. But even if that policy is ironclad, why is this strutting little martinet totally unconcerned with the civilian vehicles driving through it? What is the greater concern, the guy standing 100 yards away filming the scene, or the cars driving through only 85-90 yards from the scene?
  2. The guy is standing under trees. Presumably, those helicopter-killing landing zone hazards are of no concern to Captain Not So Smart, but the guy standing 20 yards further back under their canopy is?
  3. If it truly is a safety issue, why does he continue to show his ass for nearly four minutes after the helicopter departs, at roughly the 6:00 mark?

This whole episode is so wrapped up in suck and fail that it's difficult to know where to begin, but there are some lessons every public safety provider can draw from it:

  1. Don't be a dick on camera.
  2. Never make physical contact with a videographer. That raises the stakes from public shaming (of you, usually) to a legally actionable event.
  3. Know your patient privacy laws, which Captain Not So Smart either doesn't, or does and chooses to ignore anyway.
  4. Know the videotaping laws in your state. Generally speaking, it is legal for a citizen to film an event in a public place. In some states, the law requires at least one party to be aware that the event is being filmed. If the videographer is standing in a public place, and not directly interfering with your scene, tread with care. Control your temper, take care of your patient, and hope he captures your best side.
  5. Don't be a dick on camera.
  6. Even if Captain Not So Smart had the legal authority to make the man stop filming or leave the area (which is doubtful), and the laws were 100% on his side, there is better way to handle these interactions with the public: simply look at everything Captain Not So Smart did in the video… and then do the exact opposite.
  7. Don't. Be. A dick. On. Camera.

You'd think that wouldn't be so hard to understand, but given the number of cops, firefighters and medics who do just that, apparently some of us just can't grasp the concept.

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