Tactical EMS saves lives in mass shootings
The fight for life can end before a gunman is stopped — ongoing training enables medics to help in time
By Art Hsieh
For more than a decade there has been debate over the role of tactical EMS providers. Recent events across the country are demonstrating the need to have trained medical providers rendering basic aid while the scene is still unsecured.
It certainly makes sense. Death from gunshot wounds usually results from a sudden lack of adequate breathing or bleeding, both of which can be addressed in the field — but in a timely manner.
I’d love to think that somewhere along the line, this disturbing trend of mass shootings will end, either because of societal intolerance or regulatory changes of some sort (no, I am not an advocate of gun control, just an advocate of ending lunatic behavior). However, I don’t see that happening any time soon. In the spirit of adapt-and-overcome, it may be time to better train EMS providers in general tactical concepts and boost their safety awareness. Not everyone should be a tactical EMS provider, just like not everyone should be a paramedic. But it becomes evident that the battle to save someone’s life from acute trauma is won or lost in the first few minutes.
If we stage, those minutes are lost. Rushing in on an active scene creates great risk. What’s the balance between the life saved and the risk taken? Tell me your opinion in the comment section.