Working an accident on a highway, responding to a HazMat scene, treating contagious patients, and driving through busy cities are all risks that are taken by EMS workers. It’s a part of the job that we accept in order to help others in need. But what about the dangers we didn’t sign up for? There are patients who are out to wreak havoc and simply want to hurt or kill first responders. Firefighters and EMTs have been held hostage, been shot at, stabbed, and otherwise attacked. Sometimes, it is a patient who confuses us for the police. Other times, it is a patient with psychological issues who doesn’t want to be transported. Unfortunately, however, it is becoming more and more common for people to create emergencies to simply bring firefighters and EMS workers into an ambush out of the sheer desire to harm others. How do we deal with that?
Some agencies now allow EMS workers to carry concealed weapons on duty, so long as they have the proper licensing. As one might imagine, not all agencies will allow this and not all employees would want to carry a weapon when their job is to render emergency aid to the injured and sick. Other agencies have begun to provide self-defense training to workers so that they can escape an attacker. Another approach is to wear body armor. Some companies have rolled out protective vests specifically marketed to emergency medical providers which allow the wearer to still provide CPR, carry patients, and perform other tasks common to medical providers.
All of these approaches are valid in their own ways, but they fail in one respect. They can only help after an attack has begun, and that is less than ideal. By doing proper scene assessment and knowing our work areas, we can better avoid violent confrontations in the first place. If you roll onto a scene that is located in a shady part of town and the scene doesn’t appear safe, contact dispatch and request police assistance. The police have no problem calling EMS to look at suspects or to treat injured officers. We need to be less hesitant to call them to provide us with a safe working environment.
In a world that seems to have become more violent with less regard for civil servants, it is very important, imperative even, for us to remain always watchful and look out for our safety, as well as the safety of our partners. We understand that we may be accidently hit by a driver not paying attention, so we wear reflective and bright colored clothing. We know smoke can harm us, so we wear SCBAs, and we know that people carry creepy crawlies so we wear gloves and masks. Well, it is time for us to know that people will seek to do others harm, even to people who wish to “do no harm,” so we must start to develop ways to protect ourselves from such hazards, rather than simply reacting to them.
By staying alert and coordinating with local police, we can better protect ourselves from the violent members of our communities who simply want to see the world burn.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.