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Should EMS providers be sent into active scenes?

EMS1 readers debate over whether or not EMS providers should be sent into a scene before it is neutralized to treat trauma victims

By EMS1 Staff

After the tragic shooting in Las Vegas, trauma researchers recommended that EMS crews be brought into scenes as soon as possible, even if they're still active.

The issue sparked a debate with EMS1 Facebook fans. Conversations arose over whether or not EMS providers should be armed and trained, or if law enforcement should handle immediate trauma care instead of putting emergency crews at risk.

Atmosphere in the immediate aftermath of the mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip. (Photo/AP)
Atmosphere in the immediate aftermath of the mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip. (Photo/AP)

What do you think? Are EMS responders currently prepared to respond to active scenes? Sound off in the comments. Here are some of the responses: 

  1.  “They have offered specialized active shooter classes just for this. Only problem is they refuse to let the medics be armed, even those who legally carry every other day. I have no problem putting on a vest and going into an active shooter situation, however I'm not going in unarmed. That's just not smart.” — Justin McCaffrey
  2.  “Once LEO shows up there are generally enough guns on scene. It's not about guns, it's the training behind the gun. In an AS situation, there are enough things to do; don't try to take on multiple jobs. Those that try to do everything usually get little done.” — John Ward
  3. “Wouldn't it be more beneficial to train police in basic trauma care and have them as the initial patient care providers for calls of violence? Most of the first steps in hemorrhage and airway control could be accomplished by basic providers while securing the scene for more advanced transport providers. This would allow for EMS to remain in a safe area while providing patients a lesser morbidity and mortality, leading to better patient outcomes and increased safety. We know that staging EMS will lead to worse patient outcomes, but bringing EMS to an unsecured scene will also put providers at unnecessary risk. Why not fix both issues instead of picking one or the other?” — Ryan McHenry
  4. “I would go in, no problem. Maybe I'm stupid, maybe I'm not but, I could not just sit there and do nothing. I would throw on my Kevlar vest and Kevlar helmet and wade right in. Some things are worth risking my life for.” — Rez Medic
  5. “Moving forward with skills and giving victims a chance at a future is better than staying back and making sure the gurney doesn’t roll away … If you don’t want to go, then stay back. You’ll be dangerous in an area you’re not willing to go into. But don’t try to stop those of us who are willing to.” — Jason MacKenzie
  6. “Go right ahead and risk burdening responders with another body to move. Kevlar does nothing against rifle rounds.” — Harry Stone
  7. “Until they get hit, then you have a lifesaver down. It's different in the military, you can lay down covering fire and run security or block a position with your armored vehicle and get a wounded soldier out of the kill zone. In these situations you don't have this support, and risking EMS when they are already in short supply is not a good idea. First aid being taught to the masses is a better idea.” — Brockton Stewart
  8. “We need to teach civilians how to stop bleeding and properly apply a TQ. AED's are public access so should be TQ and hemorrhage control kits.” — Lar Ree Christopher
  9. “Sorry not for $15 an hour. I'm looking out for myself first. Does more harm than good to become a statistic.” — Tyler Lindsey
  10. “I see nothing wrong with putting medics into an active zone, so long as they have a security team.” — William Dobnak
  11.  “It’s time for EMS to meet the evolving needs of our community in this arena.” — Andy Majors
  12.  "We are not equipped, geared or trained for an active or hot scene. If you want to train; arm, and empower me then sure, I’ll go.” — Lee Boyden
  13. “I agree with cops knowing basic hemorrhage and airway control but if they are providing patient care then who is securing the scene? I'm not disagreeing. I'm just saying there needs to be some sort of balance.” — Tyler Purciful
  14. “Better yet, have these departments hire and train with former experienced combat medics, there's a lot of us out in the civilian world these days.” — Dave Rollhauser
  15. “Rushing in to be a dead hero really does a lot of good doesn't it? It makes more sense to train more paramedics to be tactical paramedics.” — Christine Scarlotta Jones

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