Know your responsibilities with live streaming

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Every once in a while I read an article and I think to myself, “Wow, that should never have happened”.  However, if I’m honest with myself, I can see how that did happen and usually think about what my mom used to say, “If not for the grace of God, there go I”, because it could happen to me if I was not careful.

Anyone who has spent any time in a preparation room in the funeral home might have said to his colleague, “That person was heavy” or “I don’t think that person looks good”.  Taken in that context they are private comments among professionals who are just giving their professional opinions to each other.

I think you would agree, however, comments like that should not be made at a public funeral service or to others who are not professionals working as colleagues with you.

Well, believe it or not they do happen.  Welcome to the world of live-streaming funerals and the failure to turn off the live-feed prior to moving on to the next aspect of a family’s wishes, such as cremation, after the public service has been completed.

We bring you this article and video today from Jacksonville, Florida, where family members are disappointed because after the funeral they got a call that the funeral live-stream was still running with the microphone still on.  The article states about the husband, “he was troubled to see how his wife’s body was handled as it was removed from the temporary coffin.  She was scheduled for cremation and he said he was troubled by what he heard from those in the room.”  The husband is also quoted in the article as saying, “In a few minutes his wife’s dignity was stolen.”

Funeral Director Daily take:  I think that this is an extremely good lesson on how we have to always be careful.  It is also a lesson on protocols and the responsibility of always being professional.  Yesterday, we wrote about “positive public relations” for a funeral home.  All the positive images of your funeral home that you project can be destroyed by a single lapse like this that gets play or publicity.

If you are a funeral home owner, I suggest you get up to speed on some type of protocol for live-streaming funerals so this doesn’t happen to you.  This article points out that . . . this can happen.  Think of the professional sports announcers that had 30-year careers but have been released from their positions for one on or off the camera statement.

I also think it might be a good time to look at your insurance policy and see what coverages you have in regard to live-streams.  In general, it is good to have at least an annual review, especially when these new topics come up.

As to insurance. . .don’t take everything for granted.  As you may know, I don’t live too far from Minneapolis where there was rioting and looting this June.  Also, last winter my small community had a large fire that destroyed three buildings on our main street.  There has been a lot of publicity on both about insurance coverages.

The issue has not been about coverages.  The issue has been that the property owners are responsible for the demolition and clean up of the properties before the property can be rebuilt or sold.  Most property owners are finding that the cost of complete demolition and clean up, in the environmentally required way specified by law in many areas, are so high that that process saps the money available in their policy and their is little money left for rebuilding.

I’m a pretty loyal customer and have had the same insurance agency handle my business and personal accounts for 38 years now.  I still own some commercial property that I lease and my agent called me when he learned of these issues that we should have a sit down discussion about the idea of placing higher limits on, simply because of what he was seeing with these demolition and clean up costs.  I don’t like to pinch pennies on insurance and usually go for the “total replacement cost” so that I have a peace of mind.  My suggestion is to make sure that your demolition and clean up costs can be in that same “actual cost” category.


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  1. We are learning so much each day. The broadcasting of funerals is foreign to so many. Do we have a checklist to follow, in writing, that each member of the team responsible for the electronic transmission follows? Obviously most do not, yet. At some point we will. At some point it may even be taught in mortuary school, just as how to lead a casket into or out of a church. We are learning so much each day. The winner’s are going to take this seriously, train off of it and make sure they are never named as a defendant.

  2. I was taught years ago when making a transfer to always handle the cot and placing it the car just as you were handling your own grandmother as you never know who may be watching you. In this era of cell phones and social media this is more true than ever.

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