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Should EMS require tactical gear for providers in wake of FDNY EMT’s murder?

The stabbing death of Capt. Alison Russo-Elling brings up new fears for providers in the field and raises old questions regarding personal safety

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Photo/Shawn Inglima via MCT

This episode of Inside EMS is brought to you by Lexipol, the experts in policy, training, wellness support and grants assistance for first responders and government leaders. To learn more, visit

This week, co-hosts Chris Cebollero and Kelly Grayson discuss the murder of FDNY EMS Capt. Alison Russo-Elling, who was violently stabbed to death by a man just a half mile from her home EMS station. The conversation touches on personal safety, how to prepare the EMS workforce with additional safety equipment and self defense training.

The duo also revisit the fraught discussion about arming EMS providers in the field and how thoughts on the topic have evolved over the years.

Notable quotes from the episode

Some people say, ‘We’re not combatants, we’re compassionate.’ I was a combat medic; we can do both.” — Chris Cebollero

Are we becoming so inured to the violence we face every day that we look at it as part of the job?” — Kelly Grayson

I think we need to learn hand-to-hand combat, I think we need to worry about wearing Kevlar vests, and we need to think about arming our paramedics with some kind of weapon.” — Chris Cebollero

more about Fallen FDNY EMS Capt. Alison Russo-Elling

The Inside EMS podcast is a regular expert discussion of hot topics, clinical issues, operational and leadership lessons for EMTs, paramedics and chiefs