By Anthony Mangeri
American Military University
Over the years, there have been several stories of public safety personnel, on and off duty, failing to meet the response expectations of their community. A recent incident in the District of Columbia involving the death of a man who collapsed near a fire station and not receive immediate aid, made it even more unclear if emergency responders have a legal duty to act versus an expectation by the community to aid those who seek help.
The term Duty to Act is a legal term that defines an individual or organization’s legal requirement to take action to prevent harm to a person or the community as a whole.
Events like the D.C. incident stirs debate about who has a legal duty to act and what that obligation actually means. More importantly, there can be a conflict between the legal obligation to respond and the community’s expectation of response.
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