Adams, Rich. Protecting the Integrity of a Crime Scene. Firehouse. Vol.
20. No. 11 (November 1995). p 22.
Abstract: EMS personnel can contribute a great deal to the investigation
into a crime scene. Recognizing that any scene has the potential to be a
crime scene until otherwise determined will help to prepare EMS staff to
respond to their responsibilities.
While patient care is the primary responsibility, protection and preservation
of evidence is equally important. Simple actions can make the job of the
police easier. Use a minimum of equipment, only what you need. Don't bring
your kit to the patient, but rather, have your partner pass you what you
need. Don't disturb the integrity of the evidence by introducing outside
items to the scene. Recall how covering the bodies of Nicole Simpson and
Ron Goldman with blankets damaged the prosecution's case.
Avoid cutting clothing across a knife slash or bullet wound. Doing so
might prevent the police from matching the fabric to the injury later. And
try to remove little or no clothing if possible. Treat your patient, but
disturb the scene minimally if you can. Aid in preserving potential evidence.
Bloody garments are best preserved in paper bags, as sealed plastic accelerates
the breakdown of enzymes.
Take care of yourself too. Don't approach any patient if there is a weapon
nearby. Wait until police have secured the scene.
Finally, be meticulous in your reporting and document everything you
can remember, even sit down and write out exactly what happened and how
you responded. This information might prove valuable later.
For more information, contact:
PTN Publishing Corporation
445 Broad Hollow Road, Ste 21
Melville, NY 11747
Phone: (516) 845-2700