Central Cariboo Search and Rescue (CCSARS) deputy chief Kyle Cotterel, pictured above during the 2017 wildfires, has volunteered with CCSARS for eight years. Photo submitted

‘Very disrespectful’: B.C. first responder irked by motorists recording collisions on cellphones

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue deputy chief challenges motorists to break the habit

After attending the scene of a fatal collision on Highway 97 on the weekend, a Williams Lake search and rescue volunteer is speaking out over what he considers “disrespectful” use of cellphones at accident scenes.

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue (CCSAR) deputy chief Kyle Cotterell said he witnessed “cell phone after cell phone” being held out by motorists passing by recording the scene where CCSAR members were stationed along busy Highway 97 Saturday trying to protect and shield the accident scene where an elderly woman had died of her injuries.

READ MORE: Elderly woman victim of fatal McLeese Lake collision Saturday with semi truck

So upset by the experience, Cotterell was prompted to post his opinion publicly on Facebook which has since been widely shared.

“It was the last straw,” Cotterell said. “I just think it’s very disrespectful. The whole moral concept of it just isn’t right.”

In his post Cotterell said he was alarmed by the amount of drivers and passengers trying to video and photograph the scene, which he felt was a violation of not only the victims’ privacy but also the first responders.

“All agencies that respond from fire/rescue, BC Ambulance, RCMP, highways and other support services are doing what they are trained to do. They are processing internally what task is at hand,” Cotterell wrote. “Often struggling with the severity and technicalities at hand while remembering every other incident from the past and how they are triggered over and over again by sounds, smells and sights. The last thing I want is my picture being taken while I am processing and working a scene.”

“Think about this the next time you want to take a picture or video of a car accident.”

Cotterell went on to encourage those interested in the work to reach out and apply to volunteer with their local volunteer fire department instead of being an onlooker.

Steve Forseth, Cariboo Regional District Electoral Area D director, said he agrees with Cotterell’s message and also took to social media to remind residents to respect one another’s privacy in emergency situations.

“People … really don’t need to take pictures of the scenes and post them on social media,” Forseth told the Tribune. “These sorts of details should be learned directly from RCMP or in the case of a house fire, from the local fire chief and not on social media. In my area, this is a message that resonates well with my local residents.”


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fireside Festival gears up for day three in Kelowna

Sunday’s lineup includes the Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Lazy Syrup Orchestra and Frig Off

Rockets grab overtime win over Giants, aim to make it 3 straight with Sunday night rematch

Kelowna’s won their last two games and conclude 3-game weekend against Vancouver

Big White celebrates Aussie Day with a series of fundraisers for wildfire relief

Big White Ski Resort’s restaurants Globe Tapas and Blarney Stone raised $6,000 for charity

Don’t look now: Warriors grab 6th win in 8 games after Morgan’s stellar outing

West Kelowna goalie Riley Morgan made 30 saves in a 4-1 win over Vernon Saturday

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

North Okanagan youth ready to make some NOYSE

Showcase of excellence features talents of young local performance

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

Rockslide obstructing traffic on rural Shuswap road

Large boulders rolled onto Sunnybrae Canoe-Point Road in the South Shuswap.

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Most Read