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

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Port Hardy called in record number of black bear sightings last year

Conservation Officers attended 74 of the 314 calls made

North Island recreation camping site closed due to vandalism

Ruined picnic tables are the main damage

Port McNeill’s outdoor swimming pool will stay closed this summer

The Town of Port McNeill typically hires 12-13 staff for the pool every year.

Bird contacting wires causes massive Port Hardy power outage

The power outage started at 1:18 p.m. and lasted until 3:00 p.m.

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Kelowna Mountie on desk duty following ‘aggressive’ arrest

The officer involved in an arrest that took place on May 30 in Kelowna has been placed on administrative duties

Protests shift to memorializing George Floyd amid push for change

‘There is something better on the other side of this,’ says Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom

Limit gun capacity to five bullets, victims group urges Trudeau government

Current limits are generally five bullets for hunting rifles and shotguns and 10 for handguns.

COVID-19: Closed B.C. businesses allowed to sell liquor stock

Sales allowed to other licensees that can reopen

Trudeau to offer premiers billions to help reopen the economy safely

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

Vancouver Island First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

Cortes Island affordable housing project hangs by a thread

Regional decision makers resort to COVID-19 concerns despite virtual meeting option and push hearing to September

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Most Read