Orlando Firefighter Fired For On Scene Recording

An Orlando firefighter was fired today for recording part of an EMS run involving an elected official. Firefighter Joshua Granada reportedly admitted to using his cellphone to audio record part of a medical run involving City Commissioner Regina Hill.

WFTV quoted Hill as saying “If someone is called out to service (for) one of our residents, (it’s important) that they are protected, their rights are protected by the HIPAA law. I don’t think no one (sic) confidentiality should be broken.”

According to an Orlando Fire spokesperson, Granada’s termination was necessary because “Public trust is paramount to the service that we provide to the citizens and visitors of Orlando and the Orlando Fire Department will not tolerate violations of patient privacy.”

However, according to the firefighter’s union, Granada made the recording for his own protection because he saw “a scene deteriorating and a patient becoming belligerent toward the crew.”

Granada has 10 days to file a grievance over the termination.

How many policies are implicated by this one story?

  • Secret Recording/Recording in The Workplace Policy
  • Public Records/Record Retention Policy
  • EMS/Medical Confidentiality

Remember the Gordon Graham – Lexipol motto: If it is predicable it is preventable.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
  • firemedic5100

    I’m not as sure he was fired for recording. His trouble began when he discussed the incident with people that were not involved with the call. That’s where HIPPA comes in. One would think, that if there is an issue with recording, then what does that say about law enforcement officers and body cams.

    • CurtVarone

      Mmmmm… not sure its that simple… An employee in a collective bargaining environment has a right to engage in concerted activities for his/her mutual protection. If he was seeking guidance from his colleagues as to how best to defend himself against allegations by an elected official… and the recording lacked any PHI… the playing of the recording may be protected. IMHO his bigger issue is going to be deleting a public record. That is a criminal offense in many states. Also recording people without their knowledge in states like FL is a criminal offense… that is why body cams have that flashing red light (and many states that require all party consent to record, make an exemption for police body and dash cams).


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