Ludwig, Gary G. Preserving the Evidence--Part I. 9-1-1 Magazine. Vol.
9. No. 4 (July-August 1996). p 68-69.
Abstract: EMS providers, by virtue of their very presence at a
crime scene, change it. They bring in footprints, hair and perhaps even
fingerprints. They may step in blood spots, or smear existing fingerprints.
By being careful and observant, EMS personnel can limit these changes and
even aid the investigation.
Notice the condition of the location. Was the door open or closed? Were
closets and drawers open? Were the victimís pockets turned out. The
key is, however, to notice, not to contribute. EMS providers do not need
to search the residence or even dig through the victimís pockets
for identification. This information can be provided later by the homicide
division. Investigators will want to see the scene the way it was left,
or as close as possible to that condition. And, by limiting their actions,
EMS providers limit their liability as well, in case allegations of missing
Also worthy of notice are any actions taken at the scene. Did furniture
have to be moved to access the victim? Was a weapon moved for safety? There
is no need to open the cylinder of a gun and remove bullets, and in fact,
such an action could dramatically change the appearance of the situation.
Notice bystanders, including family and friends. How are they responding?
Often, the perpetrator will return to the scene to see whatís happening.
And be aware of high emotions that might result in another injury or death.
Limit the number of personnel in the ìhot zone.î Keep it
to a minimum. Only one person need enter when a dead body is involved. And
avoid stepping on any bloody prints. Again, this is evidence.