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Home > Topics > EMS Training
September 20, 2012
All Articles

The Ambulance Driver's Perspective
by Kelly Grayson

Should ambulance crews be allowed to carry weapons?

Those who fear or do not understand weapons always make dire predictions of fanciful scenarios when firearms restrictions are eased

By Kelly Grayson

It was supposed to be a routine seizure call.

We were barely inside the door when a hand grabbed me from behind and spun me around, and a face that towered over me by at least six inches growled, "You got 10 seconds to help my mama, white boy, and then I'm gonna kick your [expletive deleted] ass."

Behind me, on the floor next to the couch, lay his middle-aged mother, in the throes of an epic faked seizure. I'd dealt with her before and always treated her professionally, despite what I knew was attention-seeking behavior.

Without taking my eyes from his, I set down my cardiac monitor and oxygen cylinder, keyed up my radio and asked for police assistance at the scene ASAP. I tried to look as friendly as I could and said gently, "We're here to help, man. If you want us to help your mother, first we have to assess her. Threatening me only slows things down."

His response was to cock his fist and crowd me further.

I backed away, told my partner to run to the truck, lock herself inside and scream for help on the radio.

Luckily, cooler heads prevailed, and his friends manhandled him out of the house long enough for me to do a hurried assessment of his mother and bodily carry her and my gear outside to the cot. As I pushed the stretcher to the rig, I could see him in my peripheral vision, being restrained by his friends in the neighbor's yard.

Before I could load the cot into the rig, he broke away from his friends and charged across the yard, fists cocked and ready to rumble. I calmly pushed my partner back into the rig and sidestepped to put the cot between me and him. As he rushed me, I set my feet and prepared to brain him with my portable oxygen cylinder.

And I remember thinking quite clearly, "I'm the one they called to help, yet I'm going to have to kill this guy or let him kill me."

********

Luckily, nobody's skull got caved in that night. The police arrived just in time, with our area supervisor hot on their heels. But it was a harsh reminder that no scene is every truly safe, and my partner learned an ugly lesson in her second night on the job that not everyone sees us as the good guys.

Unfortunately, such incidents are not uncommon in modern EMS. Most EMTs who have been practicing for some time can share a similar story, and there are plenty who work in grittier settings than I who have to contend with the threat of violence on an almost daily basis.

In just the past two weeks, a gunman fired on a Fort Wayne, Ind., ambulance carrying a stabbing victim to the ED, injuring a medic and wounding three others. The rig was hit 17 times.

In June, an ALS ambulance in Houston was shot at four times, and just a few days ago two New Zealand teens hijacked an ambulance manned by a solo paramedic, threatening to kill her unless she drove their overdosed friend to the hospital.

Violence is a reality in our profession. The question is how do we deal with it?

At least one fire chief is considering arming his EMTs. Chief Tim Holman of the German Township Fire Dept in Clark County, Ohio, is considering the merits of allowing concealed carry for ambulance crews. Chief Holman addressed the issue at last year's EMS World Expo in a presentation entitled, "Is It Time We Arm Our EMTs?"

Holman's crews have been assaulted on numerous occasions, and he himself has twice stared down the barrel of a gun on an ambulance scene. Chief Holman has stated that he is simply studying the issue, and current township policies forbid EMT's carrying firearms.

It's a question that bears careful consideration.

In Va., Gov. Bob McDonnell is looking to continue a trend of easing firearms restrictions by allowing EMS crews to carry concealed weapons on the job. If passed, the measure would remove a state prohibition forbidding it. Public comments are currently overwhelmingly — if not unanimously — in favor of repealing the prohibition.

At least one paramedic and educator thinks a more measured approach is called for. Kip Teitsort, a Mo. paramedic and veteran police officer, believes there is no question that EMTs need more training in avoiding and escaping violent encounters but that they lack the proper training to utilize firearms for personal protection on the job.

In an interview in the Dayton Daily News, Teitsort said, "I am fully for people carrying guns, but I am just not for EMS providers carrying guns on scene."

Kip teaches a nationally-recognized defensive tactics class for EMS and firefighters, and I believe similar training should be mandatory for all EMS crews. EMS training in situational awareness, non-violent conflict resolution, avoidance and non-lethal defensive tactics is rudimentary, at best. We need more, and the streets are a harsh teacher.

As a lifelong Second Amendment advocate, I have a biased perspective. I believe that self-defense is first and foremost a personal responsibility. Every moment I am off-duty, I carry a firearm. I hold a concealed handgun license, and I train regularly. I fire more rounds and practice with my weapon more diligently than the vast majority of police officers I know.

But most importantly, I long ago made the mental decision over which circumstances I felt justified in taking someone's life. Carrying a weapon is a huge responsibility, and not everyone is ready for it. I know that when I am carrying a weapon, I am more acutely aware of my surroundings, gentler with my speech, and less likely to engage in confrontation because I know the consequences. In short, I'm a big, fat chicken… with a pistol strapped to my hip. I will run away from a fight every time; just don't be unlucky enough to catch me.

As most defensive trainers will tell you, the gun is just a tool. The weapon is the mindset. With a combat mindset and good training, even the most innocuous objects can be lethal weapons. It doesn't take a gun, but even a trained guy with a pair of trauma shears is still at a major tactical disadvantage when facing an untrained guy with a firearm.

The combat mindset is fundamentally at odds with our focus as healthcare providers. Are you ready to develop that mindset? Are you honestly willing to look at your patients as potential threats and not as people in need of your help? That's the mindset necessary to defend yourself effectively with a firearm, and even with a lifetime of gun handling and shooting behind me, I worry about what effect it will have on my interactions with my patients.

The most valuable part of my concealed handgun permit class was not the shooting. That qualification was ridiculously easy. Even the firearms qualification course for La. law enforcement officers is not that difficult.

What was valuable was the two days of classroom instruction on self-defense laws and non-violent conflict resolution. If my instructor said it once, he said it a hundred times: "The only sure way to win a gunfight is not to engage in one."

Expand that classroom instruction to a week or more, perhaps incorporate a class somewhat like Kip's, and then you might have something approaching adequacy in teaching a medic the responsibilities of going armed on the job.

Ultimately, I can make a prediction on what will happen if Virginia allows EMS crews to carry concealed weapons: nothing.

Nothing, except that ambulances in Va. will no longer be de facto victim disarmament zones.

Those who fear or do not understand weapons always make dire predictions of fanciful scenarios when firearms restrictions are eased, and those predictions keep not happening. What will happen, if the government and the employers allow concealed weapons, is that the medics who already possess concealed handgun permits will simply start to carry them at work as well — and not all of them will even do that. They will self-select to concealed handgun permit holders, already a demographic that is among the safest and most law-abiding in our society.

Would I have shot the guy who attacked me? I honestly don't know, and I'm fervently thankful I never had to find out. More likely, I'd have administered a little topical oxygen therapy until he was no longer a threat, but if he'd pulled a gun and I'd been armed... yeah, I'd have shot him.

But the hard part isn't pulling the trigger. The hard parts are the mental preparation that leads you to that point and the emotional and legal anguish you will deal with in the aftermath. I've done that mental preparation. If you think you're ready to carry a weapon, you need to have done so as well.

It's easy to distill the decision into a trite little soundbite: "I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6," but real life is a lot messier.

I invite your comments.

About the author


Kelly Grayson, NREMT-P, CCEMT-P, is a critical care paramedic in Louisiana. He has spent the past 18 years as a field paramedic, critical care transport paramedic, field supervisor and educator. He is a former president of the Louisiana EMS Instructor Society and board member of the LA Association of Nationally Registered EMTs.

He is a frequent EMS conference speaker and contributor to various EMS training texts, and is the author of the popular blog A Day In the Life of an Ambulance Driver. The paperback version of Kelly's book is available at booksellers nationwide. You can follow him on Twitter (@AmboDriver) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/theambulancedriverfiles), or email him at kelly.grayson@ems1.com.

Comments
The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of EMS1.com or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Carol N Randy Churchill Carol N Randy Churchill Sunday, January 19, 2014 4:34:16 PM should not even be a question better to have than not hard to go to a gun fight with a needle
Kris Anderson Kris Anderson Saturday, April 05, 2014 2:25:52 PM you raise some excellent points ! & thank you for being a calm sober voice in the cacophany that seems to always surround this issue. I agree with you - self-select; allow but don't forbid & don't require either. I wouldn't go as far as "Don't ask, don't tell", since if I'm on shift & I know none of my crew are carrying that day I might then elect to carry where I usually wouldn't. Each person has the right to make the decision themselves, & as things stand now, that right is denied to all who work in EMS.
Jeff Weller Jeff Weller Saturday, October 04, 2014 7:06:51 AM Been saying this for years....training and mindset are the keys along with experience.
Eugenio Fermoso Eugenio Fermoso Saturday, October 04, 2014 7:27:20 AM As a former NYC-EMS EMT Specialist 1 with my experience working tactical patrol in South Bronx, NY and a concealed carry holder for over 12 years I believe that self defense classes are best for EMS Ambulance Crews, unless the criteria is met for deadly physical force a firearm is useless. Cops are always a radio call away. Concealed carry should be lift as a personal option. - http://youtu.be/nToJV7_shp8
Thom Swan Thom Swan Saturday, October 04, 2014 7:29:34 AM Nice job of journalism, Kelly Grayson. This isn't a particularly new issue. I cross-trained to law enforcement back in the mid 1980s in part because I was tired of being unarmed in the face of gunfire in what "should" have been a relatively sleepy, safe small city. Today my job is a dual role position in which I openly carry my sidearm along with other common LE defensive equipment. Because I am so obviously armed it is exceedingly rare for someone to initiate a violent encounter. It has never been an issue with my patients at all, but most patients in my setting expect to be aided by "the guys with the guns."If a department elects to openly arm medics it will take a while (a decade or so) for most 'citizens' to become accustomed to the typical paramedic or EMT showing up on scene bearing firearms. You'll get a lot of questions about it, and some may be extremely anxious, complicating the assessment and entire interaction. Even if carrying concealed, the mere presence of a firearm introduces other problems that should be considered. Not the least is the need for excellent initial and ongoing training which is very expensive. The typical State "concealed carry course) is not even close to adequate. I'm thinking 40 hours initial training, including 20 hours on the range with the firearm and holster the medic will be using on the job. Then there is ongoing refresher training and skill advancement, requiring a minimum of 8 hours per year. On a more mundane level, there really aren't any concealed carry (or open carry) holsters that allow you complete freedom of movement. Anything small enough to carry in an ankle holster is too small of caliber to be reliably (stress reliably) effective in a self-defense shooting. Anything of adequate caliber to do the job, regardless of where or how it is carried, is cumbersome and in the way when trying to work in the cramped space of an ambulance, and there really isn't a good place to securely stow it in the rig. It becomes a huge PITA during an auto extrication or other complex, cramped-space operation. I'm not saying it's a bad idea in any way, shape or form. I AM saying that the presence of a firearm changes things - and not everyone is ready to cope with the changes.
Thom Swan Thom Swan Saturday, October 04, 2014 7:36:51 AM I should probably also mention that if medics are permitted to carry firearms, sooner or later someone WILL screw up.Even very highly trained and diligent police officers have moments of cerebral flatulence resulting in unintended or even negligent discharges. Sometimes the results are merely embarrassing (an unexpected modification to the ambulance ventilation system), somethings they are exceedingly tragic (the death of an innocent). The agency had better be prepared to deal with the public and political fall-out of any worse case scenario.
Justin Bareika Justin Bareika Saturday, October 04, 2014 7:40:40 AM A tazer maybe a gun idk. I work ems in the city of rochester police are really quick to get to you but we have a great police force maybe if the police force is undermanned or you live in a rural area might be different but big cities I think if anything self defense and possibly a tazer beside we have training to pull the prongs out ......
Ken Maston Ken Maston Saturday, October 04, 2014 7:54:53 AM Thanx Kelly, love your perspective. We're there to save and preserve lives, including our own. Like all tools, firearms have a place. We simply need the training and mindset to use them properly.
Joe Rooney Joe Rooney Saturday, October 04, 2014 8:01:05 AM Not to put too fine a point on it, but not all providers work in an area where the police are just moments away. Some of us worked suburban or rural EMS where it may be 45 minutes before an officer arrives on scene. When I did work in an urban setting, you are right, the police were just minutes away.
Ralph McAtee Ralph McAtee Saturday, October 04, 2014 8:38:48 AM the biggest threat is carrying a sidearm into that situation and then being disarmed while your hands are full with a patient. I have been in the exact same situation only we were locked inside with a large group and SWAT was called to extricate us. No one was harmed but in that situation being far outnumbered my weapon would have been a hindrance. Just a consideration.
Timothy Tremain Timothy Tremain Saturday, October 04, 2014 8:44:23 AM Joe Rooney Sometimes even minutes are too long.
Kyle Devoe Kyle Devoe Saturday, October 04, 2014 9:54:29 AM I agree with Joe. Where I live in rural northern Maine, we have 3 state troopers and 3 sheriff's deputies to patrol hundreds of square miles of road. Many of which are desolate wilderness for miles with towns few and far between. Not to mention that most of those town don't even have municipal police departments, it can be upwards of an hour before a LEO is on scene. An hour is a very long time to be staring down the barrel of a 12 gauge while a patient wastes away on the floor.
Francisco Pabon Francisco Pabon Saturday, October 04, 2014 10:20:53 AM I've been in EMS for over 26 years. This issue comes up from time to time. I would hope that everyone who did carry a weapons would follow the example of the author and train train train evaluate the risks of such a practice. I myself have encountered many violent/ chaotic situations on the job. I personally would not carry on a rig. As field medic, I strived to remain up to date and proficient in using everything at my disposal to help those who called 24/7. I just couldn't go into work everyday with the mindset ready to shoot/ kill someone. I do respect others opinions, both your opinion piece and the comments bring up some valid points. Definetly a topic that will continue to be addressed. Be safe out there and always watch your partners back.
Michael Wiedeman Michael Wiedeman Saturday, October 04, 2014 11:17:36 AM You and I have discussed this before and I so agree with the mindset part. Kip Teitsort's class is great and helps with mindset and being ready without the weapon on your side. running for safety is the better part of valor over shoot out at OK corral.
David M. Murphy David M. Murphy Saturday, October 04, 2014 11:59:00 AM When seconds counts, the police are only minutes away.
Dylan Griffee Dylan Griffee Saturday, October 04, 2014 12:51:08 PM That's exactly what we need, more guns.
Kevin Condon Kevin Condon Saturday, October 04, 2014 1:17:44 PM I have worked in EMS for 17 years and I see the world becoming a much more violent place. I also hold a permit to carry a weapon and most times I have one secured in my personal truck while on an EMS shift. While I agree with the authors opinion that we need more self defense training and the fact that when I am confronted close up I have no problem using my radio and verbal judo skills to defuse the confrontation I am always worried about the day when I am on a seemingly safe scene and things escalate out of the blue too fast to do anything but take cover it is then that I believe I should have tthe right to carry my weapon and be able to defend my life if need be. lets face it my trauma shears and a roll of tape are not gonne get me far. What is comes down to in a nutshell is keeping myself safe so I may continue to serve the public and treat the sick and injured on a daily basis.
Robert Meredith Robert Meredith Saturday, October 04, 2014 1:22:47 PM In the state of ky all emergency workers are allowed to carry guns while on duty per a new law put into affect. But not all services will allow even the firefighters to carry while on duty but some do. I belive with training and training this is a GREAT POSSIBLE thing to have. All the comments have been very professional, but the one ccomment " police officers are only a radio call away" 88% of the time police will not be needed and even more likely a fire arm will not be needed but "what if" with more and more emergency services being attacked we need to do more to defend our self. I would much rather be at me and never have to use it and not be armed and need it. The other comment was there will be accidents yes but unforently even the best trained LEO'S have accidents. But with a lot of on going training the accidents will ne less and people will be more confident rouse or not use.
Max Goldstein Max Goldstein Saturday, October 04, 2014 2:11:52 PM Take a lesson from the U.K. and Canada and about 100 other countries. Less guns = less deaths by guns - end of story. If you arm EMS then you should arm everyone in public service; bus drivers, sanitation workers, parking officers, postal workers, etc. FYI - I left EMS as a Sr. EMT-P in 89'. Went to lots of violent crime scenes over my 13 years in the field. Never occurred to being armed. As others said - its a mindset.
Ken Brower Ken Brower Saturday, October 04, 2014 2:38:06 PM No way, too many distractions. It's different if your job and primary responsibility is to handle a firearm. Otherwise of it being taken away from you and being used against you is too great. Learn to defend yourself, stay aware, and use what's available to protect yourself such as a mag light, your portable radio, or even a piece of furniture such as a chair. Oh, and it doesn't hurt to stay in reasonable shape either.
David Williams David Williams Saturday, October 04, 2014 3:15:03 PM You would be hard pressed to find a career paramedic crew in the state of Wisconsin that does not carry at least a pocket knife. I know it's used for many other reasons but, self defense is one of them.
David Prior David Prior Saturday, October 04, 2014 4:05:13 PM I would like to know where you get your stats from. The FBI stats show an increase in gun ownership with increasing numbers of permit holders while the number of gun and violent crimes have dropped. In the UK and Canada there is an increase in the numbers of violent crimes. In my 27 years in EMS I have been nearly shot twice (collateral damage), in the middle of a gang gun battle once, drawn down on twice and by convenience of a patient protected by several Los Solidos while taking care of thier shot gang member.
Jared Miller Jared Miller Saturday, October 04, 2014 4:08:27 PM If the chance of a firearm being taken away from you is too great, as you claim....why does this same logic NOT apply to objects other than firearms? Explain to everyone: How are these killers with cat-like ninja skills able to snatch away firearms that can kill them from a distance suddenly become so inept that they are unable to wrest a toaster away from you that can only be used at arms length?
Jared Miller Jared Miller Saturday, October 04, 2014 4:32:56 PM No. Not "end of story". http://munchkinwrangler.wordpress.com/2007/03/23/why-the-gun-is-civilization/ I also suggested to my local chief of police that he disarm his officers. After all, NOT having a gun is safer, right? He disagreed with me. Why is that? Tell us: What is the distinction that makes some human beings safer with a gun, and others less so? A shiny metal disk? How does that work? BTW: If you had to choose between two categories of people, armed/unarmed, which one do you think contains the most murder victims? What kind of sadist would choose to force everyone into the category containing all the dead people?
Bob Scott Bob Scott Saturday, October 04, 2014 4:48:07 PM Yes. For all the reasons listed.
Andrea Linke Andrea Linke Saturday, October 04, 2014 5:59:00 PM If ambulances had guns how many people would shoot their partner lol yeah I know I might look like swiss cheese
Andrea Linke Andrea Linke Saturday, October 04, 2014 6:03:19 PM All joking aside I have had many partners who have concealed carried on the job even though we aren't supposed to. I have never said a word because I felt safer I believe if tou have that permit it is your right.
Walter Hudson Walter Hudson Saturday, October 04, 2014 6:48:22 PM This won't be popular to say but violent crime is actually down you cited less than 10 cases out of millions are you going going to have the gun in your hand as opposed to the monitor? I've been a firefighter/emt for 32 years this would only lead to disaster.
Travis Clay Travis Clay Saturday, October 04, 2014 7:51:38 PM Im a paramedic and police officer and I feel risks of arming EMS personnel would be much higher than the actual need to utilize deadly force. It would be a liability nightmare. In addition Texas law prevents CHL holders from carrying in numerous places (i.e. hospitals, bars, nursing homes, ect.) How would u secure the weapons? We deffinately need to educate and train FD/EMS on defensive tactics.
Daniel Martin Daniel Martin Saturday, October 04, 2014 9:06:37 PM SIMPLY ANSWERED YES BUT WITH ADDITIONAL TRAINING DA
Oliver Kocher Oliver Kocher Saturday, October 04, 2014 9:59:20 PM I definitely believe that Emergency Service Personnel should be allowed to carry for self defense. Why do we treat people who work in ES like their lives aren't as valuable as Joe Public how can (as it should be) carry without issue. I never got the thinking behind that. Having been a volunteer FF and EMT, a paid 911 EMT in the Philly region, and now in paramedic school, it's definitely something that we should be allowed to do. I carry everywhere except work and the Firehouse.
Justin Gebhardt-Kram Justin Gebhardt-Kram Saturday, October 04, 2014 11:12:29 PM Thanks for the article. Certainly thought-provoking. I'm personally an advocate for the ability of law-abiding citizens, regardless of occupation, to go about armed as a matter of personal choice. No one should be forced, via legislative doctrine, to ever become a victim. The United States was founded on very strong ideals of individual freedom and accountability. The idea of stripping any citizen, regardless of occupation and/or social standing, the independence to assert the importance of their very life against unreasonable threat is contrary to our fundamental DNA. I've legally carried a firearm for quite a long time as a private citizen. I'm employed as a Paramedic in a state that works very hard at subverting 2A rights for all. The notion of a provision for EMS to go about armed is not a likely proposition, though I wish it were. This is not borne of any feeling of "inferiority" whereby I seek a personal boost to my own morale by carrying a gun. I'm no Rambo, nor superman. No "hero mentality" or anything nearly like that. Just a desire to refuse to relegate myself to victim status if confronted with the (admittedly) unlikely scenario of the most dire of circumstances. Unfortunately I nor anyone else can predict when, where, or who will face a life-threatening circumstance whereby possessing a firearm would allow the righteous mitigation of a tragedy, but being prepared should be an individual choice. As previously stated, I've carried a firearm (legally) as a private citizen for quite some time. I pray every day that I never have to use my weapon in defense of myself or others. I value life in general, probably the overwhelming reason I chose to become a Paramedic. I know how precious each breath is, for every living being. But I also have a family, wonderful friends, an amazing community that I want to continue to be a part of. As such, I believe I have a personal responsibility to safeguard my life and preserve my relationship with those listed. You mentioned the sentiment shared by Kip Teitsor, a Paramedic and LEO who (per your article) believes EMS to lack the appropriate training to go-about armed during the course of their official duties. He seems to tow an omnipresent line shared by most LEO regarding the matter. If frustrates me to see inept LEO's, with increasing frequency, who lack both the humanity and maturity to manage that LEO training effectively to resolve a conflict. With the advent of widespread video-recording ability amongst the populace, we've seen tremendous evidence that these LEO's, who reportedly possess just such training, are continually violating the rights of the people they serve by employing improper judgement in escalation of force. For them to make the assertion that arming EMS is a bad idea, well it's just completely unfounded. And if it's a matter of training, well as EMS providers we are nearly CONSTANTLY training. SO if it's a matter of training, GIVE IT TO US! We are training anyway, what's a little more that could allow us safe passage home in the most dire of circumstance. The notion of "someone will screw it up" is another oft touted rhetoric. What does this mean? Can you quantify this error? Can you offer empirical evidence to suggest arming EMS as a societal liability? Evidence has shown that CCW permit holders and LEO's are AT LEAST equals in the likelihood of committing a crime, and far below the national average for the remainder of the populace. So I must firmly disagree that arming EMS with the training and ability to protect themselves with a firearm is a social liability. If someone disagrees, that's fine, but before you devalue my existence (and others like me) please show reliable evidence to back up such claims.
Bruce Johnson Bruce Johnson Sunday, October 05, 2014 7:14:05 AM Less guns in UK, led to a massive increase in violent crime and more deaths of law abiding citizens.
George Steffensen George Steffensen Sunday, October 05, 2014 8:48:21 AM I would like to have the ability to choose .
Cain Graves Cain Graves Sunday, October 05, 2014 11:23:05 AM I think if the proper training were to be instilled in EMS providers, and the allowance to open carry on the job would make the public respect us just as they do law enforcement. I think we would then find ourselves safer and less likely to be put in a bad situation. Once it is known that we do carry and that we are trained and have the authority to control the scene , we will get the same respect from the public that law enforcement has. I think that is the problem . We are not respected by the public as public service members. The police are prodominately respected by the public because they do carry a gun and authority.
Katie Little Katie Little Sunday, October 05, 2014 11:45:34 AM TASERs
Ann Steenwyk Ann Steenwyk Sunday, October 05, 2014 4:11:34 PM When EMS was first started, it was in a police department (Grand Rapids MI) for these reasons. Just sayin'
Thomas Opperman Thomas Opperman Monday, October 06, 2014 6:55:13 AM Well, first off, any partner, male or female decided to run to the truck, lock herself or himself in the truck while the other duked it out on their own would be getting an additional ass kicking when we returned to quarters. Where I come from partners stand together.As far as the gun thing goes i see the same end result from all these stories of fights and dangers. You all survived without having a gun and shooting someone. I come from over thirty years of EMS experience both in one of the most violent cities to rural areas. I am far from a gun control advocate, everyone should have that right, but employers are the ones who will be taking the responsibility for allowing you to carry guns and your subsequent actions. You have the right not to work for a place that does not permit you to carry a gun, it is your choice. As far as weapons training goes that would have to be a continual ritual that as we all know probably would not happen, it would be necessary but highly unlikely. But even with having all that training and mindset I would imagine that until that moment arrived, that moment when you are in fear for your life, would you have the the ability to pull the trigger. You won't know till that moment arrives. I probably would have thought when I was young in this profession that having a gun would be a good Idea. But experience and maturity have made me realize that this is not necessary. A respect for the public, common sense and good judgement are what will get you to being an old experienced paramedic or EMT, not weapons. Be safe out there.
Luke Longshore Luke Longshore Monday, October 06, 2014 10:22:00 AM If you want to kill some one, you will find a way. The was a very stupid comment that was based on zero fact.
Jay Kimes Jay Kimes Monday, October 06, 2014 8:42:24 PM But those criminals would still have guns, the only way that would work is to stop producing firearms. And that's not going to happen. I personally carry a telescopic baton everywhere I go.
Patrick Nance Patrick Nance Tuesday, October 07, 2014 3:23:58 PM Not just no but hell no... if there is ever a reason to not have a firearm, it is in the small confines of the rig with oxygen on board. I know there are always circumstances but in 26 years as a medic, I have never felt physically threatened to the point where I couldn't deal with it. We are there to defuse the situation not escalate it which could easily happen as soon as one hot head EMT/Paramedic yanks that smokewagon. This is similar to a situation in North Texas where a transfer service was given RSI drugs. Within one month, one medic had taken THREE airways when most of us would be lucky to do RSI once in a career. His reasoning? "Because I can..." Same thing with firearms... because we can should never be the reasoning behind any actions let alone using a firearm. And as any good LEO instructor will tell you... you don't unholster that weapon unless you intend to use it,
Alp Bilenler Alp Bilenler Wednesday, October 08, 2014 11:09:49 AM Exactly! we should all public safety workers!. To stop a bad guy with a gun, you need a good guy with a gun. and bad guys are going to get guns whether they are illegal or not.. Bombs are illegal, why do bombings still occur? because making something illegal doesn't mean people stop doing it.
David Hommersom David Hommersom Saturday, October 18, 2014 5:02:58 PM I'm a paramedic in Australia and I'm unsure how to view this article. Scene safety is an issue regardless of where you work in the world. Obviously gun-point assaults are lower in Australia due to their more 21st century approach to bearing arms! I've never understood the mentality of making situations safer by introducing more lethal weapons... Why is there a constant issue of school shootings, assaults, armed robberies and massacres in the states, yet everyone refuses to acknowledge that the problem isn't that there are too few guns, but too many. Boggles my mind.

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