EMS / Fire

Click here to download the Collaboration Preservation Observation and Documentation (C-OPD) guidelines. There is a PDF version or an editable Word version to customize.

Guidelines for first responders in child deaths and injury cases

These are only guidelines.  Not all information may be pertinent or available, follow local procedures and established protocols. These guidelines provide a quick review of recommended approaches in cases reviews of child deaths.

They list important considerations for review of; first responders especially law enforcement, EMS/Paramedics, child protection services/juvenile authority during an immediate response to the scene where the child has died.  Determination of the cause of death or mechanism of injury will depend on the results of a complete investigation and medical evaluation.  In addition to considering these suggestions, please note any other relevant information.  Keep in mind, not all items apply in all cases - each situation is different and the appropriate response will vary depending upon available resources and the specific facts of the case.

For further detail, the entire training manual can be found in the SUIDI Training Manual section of this website, however, Chapter 1, Chapter 2 and Chapter 9 are of particular interest to the EMS/Fire responder.


Although multi-disciplinary coordination has been identified as a best practice approach, no single method works in all communities. Joint investigations should include LE, EMS, CPS, medicolegal, prosecution, medical staff.  Depending on the nature of the death, other agencies for consideration; e.g., fire personnel, water safety professionals, etc.

Formalizing protocols and guidelines for each discipline as to their roles and responsibilities is critical in establishing a joint investigation and coordinating the case.  Continuous assessment of collaborative resources, help identify strengths and weaknesses for improved investigations.

Were there parallel and or joint investigations conducted?  Was information exchanged and regular meetings or communications?

Investigations ensure that all information pertinent to determining the cause, manner and circumstances of a child’s death are considered in each investigation; e.g., are roles clarified? Who was designated the lead agency in the investigation?  Was a scene investigation conducted utilizing reenactments, including doll reenactment, evidence collection and photo/video documentation? 

Identify Strengths and weaknesses in investigations

Were there agency policies, practices or protocols in place?

What are the key finding and were they communicated to others in the investigative team?