When Someone Dies

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Unexpected Deaths

When a person dies suddenly or unexpectedly, your first responsibility is to call 9-1-1 for medical assistance and guidance. Please try and have the following information available:
  • Name and address of the decedent
  • Age and date of birth
  • Place and circumstances of occurrence
  • The name and location of the treating physician
  • Any other information which may be helpful

Arrival Of EMS

When such a call is received by emergency services, it is our county’s policy to dispatch emergency medical assistance. The EMS unit will verify that dead-on-arrival criteria exist as set forth by State EMS Protocol:
  • Decomposition,
  • Rigor mortis
  • Dependent lividity
  • Decapitation
  • Unwitnessed cardiac arrest of traumatic cause
  • Traumatic cardiac arrest in entrapped patient with severe injury incompatible ?with life
  • Incineration
Cases where these criteria are not clearly met, EMS personnel will initiate resuscitation efforts and transport the patient immediately to the nearest medical facility for further treatment and disposition.

Next Steps

In all cases where:
  • Death has been determined: The responders will notify the County 911 Center of this, and the Coroner’s Office is to then be notified immediately.
  • Coroner has jurisdiction to investigate the facts and circumstances of death: State Law requires that the body and its surroundings shall be left untouched until the coroner has had a view thereof or until he shall otherwise direct or authorize. (As amended 1990, Nov. 29, P.L. 602, No. 152, Sec. 3.)
  • The scene is a suspected crime scene: It is important for all concerned to not move the body or disturb anything at the scene, and do not allow others to enter the scene until the police arrive. This is very important, as any alteration of the body or the crime scene may interfere with the ability of the investigating authorities to discover the "truth” and bring any guilty parties to justice.