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

Influx of tourists helping to nurse Penticton’s economy back to health

The city has seen visitors multiply tenfold in recent weeks

Two vehicle crash on Highway 97 in Penticton

The crash happened before 3:30 p.m. in front of the Lakeside Inn and Suites

Pooch abandoned at Penticton doggy daycare suffered from oral disease

A fundraiser for Okie held by the BC SPCA surpassed its goal of $1,700

Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department receives $25k grant

Money used on a truck with low volume, high pressure water pump to fight wildfires

Ryga Arts Festival to include virtual and in-person events

Arts festival in Summerland will run from Aug. 15 to 23

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Summerland Blossom Youth Ambassador Program to hold coronation

Event will be held by video as a result of COVID-19 precautions

Vernon shutterbugs capture rainbow

A rain event July 9 made way for a glorious sight

Couple shaken up after homophobic encounter at Kelowna mall

‘We’re not in the States; we’re not in some little hick town; we’re in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. And it still happens’

Summerland to allow in-person attendance at July 13 council meetings

Two meetings will be held at Summerland Arena Banquet Room to accommodate public

Fundraiser kicks off for Lake Country families displaced by house fire

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise $5K for those who lost everything in early morning blaze

Most Read