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Australian Emergency Law

A correspondent has asked ‘Can a person refuse to be rescued?’  He gives the context as:

 A person is involved in a motor vehicle accident in an area serviced (primarily) by a volunteer rescue service, however there is also a professional emergency service nearby that can also provide rescue services (they act up as primary rescue service should the volunteer service not be available).

The person in the accident knows that the quality of the service provided by the volunteer service is poor, and is able to convey their wishes that they want the professional rescuers to rescue them and not the volunteers. Can the person trapped in the car say “I refuse permission for you to touch me!”? Are the volunteers bound by the wishes of the trapped person? Do they have a duty of care that overrides the person’s wishes?

That’s an interesting question.  My answer is ‘no…

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About Darin Sullivan (1968 Articles)
President of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union and a professional firefighter with more than 25 years’ experience. Father of two daughters, he lives and works on the NSW South Coast, Australia. He is a strong advocate for firefighters and emergency service workers with an interest in mental health issues and caring for those around him. He is a Director on the NSW Fire Brigades Death and Disability Super Fund and works with charities including ‘The Movember Foundation’. As a leader and activist he has long been active in the campaign for action on climate change. Now a Station Commander in the fire and rescue service in NSW and has decades of experience fighting fires, both rural and urban. He is passionate about highlighting the impact climate change is having on fire preparedness and fire behaviour in Australia, and the risks associated with inaction on climate change. Darin is also a spokesperson for the Australian Climate Media Centre.
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