Recently I was visiting one of my best friends in Charlotte, North Carolina. We were running some errands and decided to stop by and visit his brother who is a Charlotte EMT. After some casual conversation the subject came up that his brother had a new assignment and he took us over to the trunk of his car to show us some of his new gear. I was surprised to see a flak jacket and camouflaged gear not unlike that of any frontline soldier. He went on to explain to us that he was now being trained as a SWAT EMT which is sometime better known as a Tactical EMS position. I never knew such a position existed so I decided to look into it further and see exactly what role EMTs played on a SWAT Team.
I am sure they selected my friend’s brother because he is in excellent condition and had a very calm but intense demeanor about him; he would not have looked out of place in a military uniform of any kind. The very presence of a flak vest suggested that he would somehow be in the line of fire as he carried out his duties. There were no weapons or ammo belts present and he affirmed to us that he would not carry a weapon as he went about his duties.
So why are EMTs chosen to do this? Although it is not uncommon for members of a SWAT Team to take classes and become certified as an EMT, that type of training does not come with the hands-on experience and patient assessment skills that are so critical in the hostile environments that SWAT Teams operate in. Just as it is on the battlefield, time is critical in assessing and stabilizing a patient, and EMTs are involved in these types of situations almost every day at work. It is simply a natural fit for those EMTs who are in excellent shape, willing to go through the training, and are brave enough to put their lives on the line alongside the other SWAT Team members, to perform this tactical medical role.
Those EMTs that wind up in Tactical EMS roles have to go through a lot of additional training and keep up on the latest tactical medical procedures. They will most likely attend the same classroom and field training courses as military medics and other search and rescue personnel. It must give the other SWAT Team members a lot of confidence knowing they have a trained medic working with them that has learned the same procedures to treat wounds that resulted in a less than 10% fatality rate for those wounded in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
Being a SWAT Medic is truly not for the faint of heart and those who do it are selfless and brave individuals. I salute my friend’s brother and all the other SWAT Medics that put themselves in harm’s way so that others may live.
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.
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