2011-03-19_20-03-52_267

Robert forwarded an article earlier this week about a couple of EMTs that were ambushed in the line of duty. The were stabbed and pretty badly cut up. His question: should we arm EMTs? It’s a fair question, and given my background I think I’ve got enough experience to take a stab at an answer (no pun intended) . . .

There are two members of the TTAG staff with a medical background. John Wayne Taylor used to be a medic in the armed forces, so I’m pretty sure I can figure out his position on that question. As for me, I spent a couple years as a fully certified EMT and a member of a volunteer fire and rescue squad riding in the back of an ambulance. If you called 911 after dark on a Monday in Fairfax, Virginia, there was a pretty good chance that I was going to be the guy to show up.

Usually if there was some issue with scene safety on a call, we would be dispatched with a police unit to keep us safe. One shining example was when we were toned out to deal with the aftermath of the infamous serial butt slasher, and a police escort was already on scene to keep us from being the next victims.

Not every incident, however, was so cut and dry. One time when we were called out for a cardiac arrest in a nice, safe part of town, but when we arrived we quickly discovered that the cardiac arrest victim was merely so drugged up that his meth addict brother had thought he was dying and dialed 911. When the brother woke up he was convinced that we were there to kill him and proceeded to defend himself. Records indicate that from the time of our distress call to when every on-duty police officer in the county responded was five minutes, but it might as well have been hours.

When seconds count, the police are only minutes away…even if you’re on the same radio channel.

Given that experience you’d think that I would be all for arming EMTs. The nightmare scenario for every EMT in the county was being called to a fake emergency so that drug addicts could kill the responders and raid their ambulance for all the wonderful opiates sitting there in the meds kit. Giving EMTs a way to defend themselves seems to make perfect sense. The problem is that EMTs aren’t just there to treat physical issues. Sometimes there are mental health issues that need to be assessed as well.

Especially when drugs are involved, one of the most powerful things an EMT has in their bag isn’t the narcan. It’s the phrase, “We’re not the police, you’re not going to get into trouble.”

Even when on the verge of death, people can be reluctant to disclose what they’ve been doing if it’s illegal. Drug overdoses are a good example, but a better one might be the time when we were called out by a concerned mother to take a look at her obviously intoxicated 12-year-old son. In that case he was initially aggressive and reluctant to talk to us about anything, but a simple application of the “We’re not the police, we just want to make you better” phrase turned the whole situation around. All he needed was a little chat, and that phrase took him from aggression straight to compliance.

That’s an important tool for EMTs, which allows them to get the information they need from their patients when time is critical. The blue uniforms and flashing lights already make it hard enough for people to understand that concept — that EMTs aren’t cops, and whatever you say is private — and I’m convinced that if you add firearms to that situation, you’re only going to make it harder for the EMTs to do their job effectively.

There’s a caveat here, though. Arming EMTs as official policy is a bad idea, but disarming them as official policy is just as wrong-headed.

I was specifically forbidden from carrying a firearm on shift, despite the fact that I had a valid concealed handgun license and could out-shoot the police. I thank my lucky stars that I was never in a situation bad enough to warrant the use of deadly force, but I sure would have felt a lot more safe and secure knowing that the option was available.

Requiring EMTs to carry a firearm would undermine their ability to talk to their patients and would reinforce the confusion about the difference between medical and law enforcement personnel, something that’s bad for everyone. Permitting voluntary concealed carry, on the other hand, would be a responsible way for departments to allow their staff to defend themselves from the dangers they face every day. We ask these people to go into the houses of complete strangers, often unassisted by law enforcement. Every time they leave the station their lives are on the line. It’s a profession unlike any other on Earth with unique dangers that can’t be eliminated. Recognizing their natural right to keep and bear arms would definitely add to their security.

That said, open carry would almost certainly be a problem. Concealed carry is the only viable option that would allow medics to do their work without any additional complications. I can completely understand why people are hesitant to allow armed EMTs — they’re expected to be part social worker and part NASCAR driver, and do it all in some of the most dangerous sections of our cities. The idea of keeping EMTs disarmed to have them “off limits” for violence is appealing and one that goes back as far as the 1864 Geneva Conventions. But even in modern military conflicts our armed forces have come to understand that medics on the battlefield need a way to defend themselves.

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85 Responses to Is Arming EMTs A Good Idea?

    • Agreed, at most calls that go south, the fire dept is there. I can tell you, as a firefighter, I have had more than a few occasions when I wish I was armed.

      • I told my fiance (who’s an EMT) that if she got killed on the job and I thought her carrying a gun would have prevented that, I’d put her EMS system director in a body bag. She started changing her tune from “It’s not allowed” to “You can’t do that!” I assured her I could, and would.

        The question is not “Should we get ambulance staff to carry guns?” but rather “Can we as a society ALLOW program directors to threaten the jobs and the freedom of an EMS worker because the management are cowards? After all, they seem to prefer a dead hero every time to risking defense of an embarrassment.

        Also, they get dispatched. They have no choice on where they go tonight. Imagine the places you wouldn’t go without OCing an AR-15. Call comes in, and they have no choice but to go. If the police are well funded they get protection. If not, police don’t know or care.

        It’s like the argument of being prohibited from carrying a gun at work but you have to ride the train back home through a nasty area. However in this case, work IS the nasty area.

    • Completely agree. As a Fire Fighter / EMT (they’re combined here) for 15 years, I’m completely against the idea of banning or forcing the carrying of weapons. I’m in favor of the personal choice to CCW, and allowing that as an option for all.

      As said elsewhere here, we’re almost always the first responders on scene, and you never know what you’re walking into. The counterpoint to that is that if we’re openly carrying like police officers, it can dissuade victims from telling us important information for fear of legal reprisals. For instance, “What did you take and how much?” is an important question, which won’t ever get an answer if we look like The Law Man. Its hard enough getting a response (never mind an accurate one) as it is now.

      Discussion is good though, and I enjoy the points / counter points. I will say this though, I’ve seen many a firefighter keeping a CCW handy in his dorm room at the firehouse even today.

    • FWW,

      Works for me. EMTs shouldn’t be forbidden from CCW (as they usually are); they should have the option.

    • Cross train with police so that police get some training in emergency first aid while the EMTs learn how to shoot and when to shoot. As for carrying they should be allowed to carry concealed since someone out of their minds may go for an openly carried gun.

    • Considering that an EMT may need to shoot a venomous snake or a rabid animal they should be allowed to carry a judge defender or smith & wesson governor loaded with 410 pdx1 handgun loads concealed.

  1. WE! (two caps intended) should not arm them. They should have some training, get a CCW permit, and if they wish, they can arm them selves, with maybe an allowance from the district.
    Any law that restrains them (State or Federal) would not apply.
    In other words, if they worry about their safety, let them carry. If they have a felon conviction in the past, and good behavior since, let them carry while on duty at least.
    I think its better this way rather than to dictate what and when they will carry. Leave it up to the individual.

  2. I think you answered your own question. EMT’s should not be disarmed by policy if it is otherwise legal for them to carry a firearm.

    Possibly concealed might be smarter. Not only for perception reasons, but to keep someone from attempting to make a grab for the firearm maybe…

  3. “His question: should we arm EMTs?”

    No. Keep in mind many of them work for private ambulance services and they aren’t public employees. They just work for a company contracted to do a public job. That would be a private sector personnel matter.

    But as for those who are public employees, we darned sure should not infringe on their 2A rights while they’re on duty. We should get rid of any policy that would prevent them from tooling up if they so choose. And at the very least they should bet the same carve-outs as LEOs going into gun-free zones.

  4. I’m on board with Nick here. Depriving of the right to carry is one thing, conspicuously arming EMTs is another. Even with retention holsters, I’d have concerns about weapons retention if an EMT (who is quite naturally focused on medical issues) finds himself suddenly in a CQB battle for his own gun.

    • You mention all valid points. That is why I think voluntary concealed carry is the way to go. Those who want to carry concealed, go ahead. Those who don’t want to carry concealed, don’t carry at all. Above all, leave the choice up to the individual rather than instituting a mandatory policy.

  5. As an EMT I’m not sure that I like the idea of armed EMT’s. We are suppossed to to be totally engaged with our patients, who can be in a very bad way, not scanning for threats or taking a standoffish position until we know who all the players are. My squad almost always has PD support who are capable of making the scene safe. If the scene is not safe we don’t go in, period. We can’t be expeced to do sweeps and control the scene while working to assist the patient.

    That said, I saw the story where the Medics/EMT’s got cut up in Detroit and it made me very angry. There they were trying to help people and some nutbag attacks them with an edged weapon. Now, if the SHTF and order breaks down, I would either tool up or quit riding until some order is restored. Alternatively, add an armed member to the crew. Just my 2 cents.

    • Paul,

      I don’t think the point of armed EMTs is to provide for site security. I think the point is so that they can defend themselves if a violent attacker suddenly thrusts him/herself upon them. I don’t see how that would detract from their ability to do their job.

      • And I don’t think you understand the role of the EMT. How does a “sudden attack” occur in the first place? Most of the time its because the focus of the attack let his situational awareness lapse. EMT’s cannot afford to spend time and effort to eliminate potential threats. We are there to provide care to the patient and we assume that the scene is safe because we have PD along. As I said earlier, if the scene isn’t safe we don’t go in, its just that simple.

        I live in both worlds as I’m an EMT and a CCW permit holder. So, I get both arguments. I’m trying to address the original question i.e. should EMT’s be armed and the answer is no for all the reasons stated above.

        • Paul,

          I think I do understand the role of an EMT. I agree that an EMT is devoting no attention to situational awareness and all of their attention to their patient … as it should be. Being armed is a last resort to defend yourself AND your patient if an attacker suddenly appears on a call that originally provided no indication whatsoever that any danger would be present. Unless police cars meet you at the scene of every single call no matter what, I think it would be wise to carry concealed just in case … as long as the armed EMT understands that they are to devote all of the attention to the patient, not situational awareness.

          Heck, people who are not EMTs with no distractions and great situational awareness could still suddenly find themselves the subject of an attack — through absolutely no fault of their own. That isn’t a reason to tell them they must be unarmed. Neither is it a reason to forcibly disarm an EMT. As long as they keep focused on their patient, I don’t see any harm in being armed.

    • Paul, I used to work in an environment that deals with many medical issues, my job is to keep EMTS safe and crowd control. I agree with you, primary focus is the individual(s) receiving medical attention, arriving on scene, you have to assess the situation if it is safe or not. You don’t let your guard down, a split second can change your life. Are you going home alive to your family, if you have someone waiting for you? We live in a world that is so evil and you have a responsibility to yourself and love ones waiting for you to protect yourself, well it’s a choice. EMTS should be trained tactical defense, such as: how to control combative individual(s) to protect yourself and not only providing medical attention. To be armed is not for everyone and it doesn’t guarantee your going home alive or be admitted to the hospital yourself. It’s a choice to make. I admire what EMTS Do, me I can’t do it. Thank you for what you do.

  6. Easy call, in my opinion.

    Just as with teachers in schools, and for that matter, firefighters, city workers, everyone really, EMT’s should be allowed to carry a sidearm, either openly or concealed, within the laws of their respective states, if they so choose. Now as for open versus concealed, that is a matter of personal responsibility in my opinion. I can see why concealed would be better for most EMT’s. But again, I think it ought to be up to the EMT’s own professional judgement, as opposed to a legal requirement. A city worker, say for the road department, might be a different call – after all, they might be called to do some sewer repair in a really sketch part of town at o’dark thirty. Sure as hell I’d pack something.

    All things considered I think the biggest problem is getting rid of that stupid gun free zone bullshit. Fix that and most of the rest will pretty much take care of itself.

    Tom

  7. Close to 30 years as paid FF ( LT. on a truck so thankfully I now do little ems ) been to a well over a hundred shootings, untold numbers of stabbings,od’s assaults and so on.

    It’s never going to happen. Oh and btw I live in Webster NY where 4 FF were shoot and two killed , one of the guys shot Also works for my Dept.

    The amount of training , the liability , the image and blurred lines , the amount of time the PT will be so close to the gun, never happen.

  8. I don’t think it should be unlawful for them to carry. It gets sketchy out there and frankly I’d rather be issued a stab vest or better first to avoid being punctured by patients and or hysterical family members. Shotguns have come out when there are those tense family moments.

    Fl EMT

  9. EMT for several years. Volunteer department. Totally concur. Should be up to the individual. Concealed carry wouldn’t interfere with patient perception and still leave you with a fighting chance should the need arise. In other words, EXACTLY like concealed carry for the rest of the population.

    If anything, EMTs are in high risk situations more frequently. Why should their right to self defense be forfeit because they choose the role of good Samaritan?

    • A while back, I deferred my comments to Chip Bennett.
      This is why. I was scrolling to the comment box and saw your mug and had to stop to read it. Damn if you didn’t say exactly what I was going to write.
      Our laws don’t say what you can do but what you can’t.
      We don’t arm people. We disarm them. And we shouldn’t.

  10. In states that allow assisted suicide EMTS should be allowed to kill patients. As trained medical providers they should make a decision to end the life of annoying cretins. A quick CNS shot would be humane and painless. Then like Planned Parenthood they get dibs on the body parts and any ensuing profit.

  11. The EMT folks should not be armed. With them reaching everywhere when grabbing equipment, they would not be able to cover or conceal their weapon where the bad guy wouldn’t know they were armed or be able to react quickly enough to deflect attempts at disarming.

    Where I am, if the EMTs have and trepedation about their cargo, the police are asked to handcuff the person to the cot and ride along. They have never declined and always enjoy a coffee with the EMTs afterwards.

      • EMT, combat medic, SWAT medic, and now ER nurse.

        Decision to carry should be based on the individual. The .mil sent me to Baltimore for a trauma rotation because those people don’t need a war to shoot each other all the time. One station, 17 IIRC, many of the medics and fire crew wore stab vests or body armor, specifically because the areas we operated in were akin to war zones. Quite a few stashed a firearm in a medic bad, everyone had an edged weapon, not just a multitool mind you.

        Situations can deteriorate very quickly even with police presence. 2 squad cars have nothing on a hundred angry residents that descend on you very quickly after loading the patient, who may or may not have been shot be someone in the crowd.

        And yes, belligerence will get you cuffed in the back of the rig, even in the sleepy town where I work. The back of the rig is small in filled with potential weapons. Methed-out patients can flip a switch in a heartbeat, and you literally have nowhere to run. Filling the back of the rig with pepper spray is not an option either.

        When the patient arrives and we can further assess the situation, cuffs are removed, and we get back to medically assessing and treating the patient. Often times they will end up in leathers in the ED if they pose a threat to themselves or others.

        Often times patients will arrive via “burrito” http://www.saferestraints.com/Demo.

        Scene safety does not end with packing the patient.

        Short version: Hell yes, cuff them to the gurney.

  12. Conceal carry as an option, of course- why not?!?. Open carry is a bad idea given that attention will probably be focused on a patient much of the time.

  13. Paramedics in San Francisco used to be armed. They (some of them, at any rate) were sworn “Public Health Officers” of the city’s Department of Public Health. They could be distinguished from non-sworn medics by the seven-point star instead of the shield worn by regular medics.

    This ended in the 90s before SFFD took over EMS transport duties in the city and response times went to shit.

  14. I have an ex EMT as a friend. He became a firefighter after being shot the second time while Responding to a call. EMT’s in the area (Denver) always seem to arrive before police.
    I agree that they should be allowed to arm themselves.
    I don’t think there should be any policy committing to one or the other. Let these amazing individuals use all those smarts, guts, and civic mindedness to determine if it’s best for them.

  15. I will say this, I think it’s a discretionary thing and that EMTs should be trained before doing it seeing as their chances of contact are a lot higher than general population.

    On another note, I would like to say shame on CFD for preventing their people from wearing body armor when going to calls. If anyone gets the bloody shirt in their face it should be the politicians that approved and thought of this idea.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/kass/ct-kass-paramedic-vest-met-0827-20150826-column.html

    • And yet nothing will come of this Andrew because the city council/mayor are “more equal”…and Chicago Sucks.gov…

  16. As a recovering Paramedic, and now many decade-long emergency physician, Nick hit the nail on the head. Back in the day, medics in my area couldn’t carry, but did. It was precipitated by one incident when a crew, responding to a home, got pinned down away from the truck by someone taking pot-shots from the front door. One climbed a tree (not that altitude necessarily equals distance, however). I’ve responded to “man down” calls where the man down had fatal lead poisoning and the armed assailant met us at the door. And yes, the police arrived many minutes later, after we secured the scene as best as possible.

    I’ve always been a fan of body armor for medics and I wouldn’t be in favor of disarming EMS. In the city where I trained, early EMS providers were the police. It’s amazing how many patients, when given the choice of going to jail or going to the hospital, would become utilizers of the health care system. Those medics were armed. In the kinder, gentler days that came later, medics were often on their own, not a position I would advocate.

    With appropriate training, medics with CCW capability would offer an option. Nick is right, though, in that EMS is not the police. I didn’t care if you were stoned, suicidal, or stupid (the 3 S’s), I was there to help, and still am in the ED. It’s important to maintain a good working relationship with the police, because they’re our backup, but they can’t be there all the time, or in time, for that matter. Don’t necessarily arm, but don’t disarm, either.

  17. Seems I’ve read here from EMTs who arm themselves with a don’t ask, don’t tell policy towards notifying anyone about it.

  18. I’m a volunteer at my local department, and on of the paid guys was the driving force behind this years effort in Texas to get first responders the right to carry. As a few others mention, it was to authorize concealed carry – probably since that was the law of the state generally at the time anyway, but I think a good one when your first priority is patient care. Link to the Senate Bill:

    http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/84R/billtext/html/SB01684S.htm

    I’m not going to post his contact information here, but, Nick, et al, let me know if you want him to get in touch with you. His frustrations certainly raised a lot of questions in my mind about the challenges gun rights face in Texas.

  19. No easy answer here, but I imagine any EMT agency might have serious concerns about probable liability blowback if its armed EMT had to shoot a murderous patient or bystander, even if the act were totally justified. After all, we live in a very litigious society, and the bad guys and their sleazy families are prone to filing BS lawsuits whenever they see an opening.

  20. One major problem here in PA.
    According to the vehicle code, weapons of any kind are prohibited on board an emergency vehicle, including bin a, knives, firearms, etc.
    Except law enforcement personnel.

    So even if the department said ok, you cannot.
    All a patient or civilian needs in court is to say the reason his cousin got shot was because an EMT broke the law.
    Yup…..

  21. I’m a former paramedic and I’m wondering about the effect of even one EMS provider clearing leather, the national media feeding frenzy – the fact that from then on the assumption might be every EMS provider is or could be armed.

    One “protection” if you will for EMS is that you’re not the cops. That you’re not a threat. I worry that providers being seen as a potential armed adversary brings a whole new dynamic to the game that might have a whole lot of unintended consequences

  22. I’m an EMT and I’m armed. The the only time I CC (usually open carry).

    I asked the country sheriff what he thought of it and he said I would be an idiot not to carry so that is all the justification I need.

  23. I’m a paramedic in middle Ga, and have been stuck in a handful of those tense situation when LE was just minutes away. I think we should be able to keep a firearm on the truck(under lock). But as with always we are taught we are not the cops, and #1 is your butt, #2 is your partner’s butt and if things get too hot you de-ass the scene. Never let anyone get between you and your exit, yada yada always be safe. I would much more prefer we could keep a tazer on the trucks, a firearm it is not but when you are stuck in a tiny box sometimes wrestling around with them I’d rather have something if they get the edge on me won’t kill me if they turn the tides. I also agree with Leghorn, sometimes the only reason people actually tell us what’s going on is the fact we arn’t LEOs. They arn’t intimidated by EMS, so they will convey things to us. I have been told by my director I could CC at work if I really wanted to but if I ever even had to draw my weapon he did not know the total legal ratifications that would follow(not being post certified and a . I’ve seen many crazy, and unsafe scenes but all and all I always had at least one other person with me and a running vehicle just feet away.

  24. Absolutely, yes. And firefighters too. And all conscientious, rational, law-abiding citizens too. Next question.

  25. I was a volunteer fireman for 30 yr’s. 2 fellow firemen and i carried always. It was known by all on the squad as well as the leo’s. Most of the time it was met with “why do you do that”? But several times it was funny to see how many “friends” we gained at some calls. Including back up for law enforcement at a couple of large parties that had gotten nasty and being asked to roll on calls for ems when police help was miles out.
    We were always glad to help.

  26. As a volunteer firefighter in TN our SOPs allow carry if
    1. You have a permit
    2. You have the chief’s sign off

    I think state law bans guns on ambulances.

    More and more Fire Depts are doing medical stuff – shrunk budgets force that. At some point the Emergency Response world is going to have to seriously think about giving EMT/FF some security capacity, if for no reason other than budgets. Hey, even the Paris Fire Brigade carries the FAMAS, so it’s not a completely new or unknown concept; they did major service during the huge riots a few years back – they were the only ones to run calls in certain areas (you know, where rioters were present).

    Step one should be a qualification process and maybe training for all volunteers that want to be armed. Maybe at some point, some units would move to compulsory training (hey, gun safety SHOULD be compulsory for everyone, just like how to work a fire extinguisher).

  27. I know lots of EMS folks who live under the delusion that they are uber-tacticool Tier -0 OPPUHRAYTORZ. I think their 5.11 pants with all the pockets must have merged with their brain, or something.

  28. I’m a Paramedic in a very busy urban system. I see my fair share of shootings.

    I’ll be honest here, the few people who say they “support” concealed carry “BUT”… not when it comes to Paramedics and EMTs, use the SAME EXACT arguments that antis use against concealed carry in the first place, and it’s sickening.

    Just tonight I ran a shooting in the not-so-good part of town. We had dozens of cops on scene. Shit STILL hit the fan, and there was a giant brawl just 10 yards from us while we were working, with every single one of the dozens of cops occupied. I was feet from PD, and yet if someone chose to come back and make sure the patient was dead, there’d be no one to stop them from shooting the patient again, nor me or my crew tending to them. You CANT always stage for PD, you CANT always “back away”, sometimes shit just evolves and you have to deal with it.

    So please, those of you against it, tell me why I should not be able to protect myself when I’m way more likely to need it than the average person.

  29. 6 yrs private company. Our uniform: light blue shirt with patches, dark blue pants with a light blue stripe, yellow 3 season coat. Guess who we usually got mistaken for? Rarely did any of us work in a bad area, but if Boston EMS got swamped we were their go to guys. Personally, i’d rather they offered armor, we did find bullet holes in the ambulances occasionally, but the company didn’t even allow pocket knives (tip: recon 1’s can be used to pry open doors.) i think that if an EMT, even a lowly Basic, wants to carry that’s up to him or her to be responsible enough. I also think that I had to spend too much time teaching the younger guys that “one watches the patient, the other watches EVERYTHING else” was not a polite suggestion. One of the best compliments was when the guys who worked lawrence and lynn started asking for me by name. Doesn’t matter what kind of call it is: you, your partner, your truck, without those you’re screwed and just another problem.

  30. I am a firefighter in a small city, our station is in the same building as the police department. My WI CCW permit forbids carrying in any buildings housing a police station so I am forbidden from carrying at work. The other side of the coin is I already have to carry so much gear that I don’t think I could quickly get to my gun if things did go south. The EMT’s next door would have a much better shot at defending themselves if they were allowed to carry. One of the EMT Captains is an NRA instructor and I know for a fact several crews would pack if they had permission.

    • That’s the thing that most people don’t understand about firefighters: Just how much stuff you’re wearing when you get into full bunker gear.

      The idea of “drawing from concealed” while wearing bunkers is just hilarious. First, you’d have to pull your SCBA mask off so you could tell the assailant “Hang on, this will take a minute.”

      • This, precisely. Not to mention a round in the chamber in fire conditions is not a good idea. If I handled medical calls more I would definitely consider carrying, but we handle MVA’s about 75% and the rest are fires/alarms/CO calls.The chances of me needing my gun on the job are quite low and most of the time the police are on scene about the same time as us. Still, we should have the option, as should everyone else.

  31. Heh. I think you should show up with a couple of tactical dudes for overwatch. Just in case someone doesn’t want you to revive the dude they just spent so much time & effort filling with holes.

    You could call it “Docwagon“.

  32. If an EMT is carrying on a CCL what happens when you respond to calls in places that outlaw carrying, schools, federal buildings? Here in North Carolina many Hospitals are part of universities.

  33. I tend to think of them as “non-combatants” a military concept and unarmed, which is not necessarily accurate. The decision should be instead based upon risk and capability of the 1st responder. If there is a realistic threat and the EMS personnel are properly trained, then they should be able to carry firearms. If for reasons of ethics, litigation/liability or social norms it is determined they should not be armed, the option to use less than lethal should be considered (pepper spray, taser etc).

  34. “Robert forwarded an article earlier this week about a couple of EMTs that were ambushed in the line of duty. The were stabbed and pretty badly cut up. His question: should we arm EMTs?”

    No, we should let them get cut up. /s

  35. It’s the phrase, “We’re not the police, you’re not going to get into trouble.”

    And how exactly does being armed have anything at all to do with this phrase? I go armed quite a bit, and I’m not a cop.

  36. Volunteer FF and (occasionally paid) EMT.

    I agree with Nick, and this article is really well written and comes at nearly all sides of the issue well. There are situations where you really want a gun, and others where having on (especially in the open) would be a horrible liability. There simply is no “one size fits all” policy that can be laid down here.

    The best policy would be not prohibiting CCW and allowing all EMT’s to determine for themselves whether they’d be better with CCW or not. To date, physical conditioning, strength training and some marital arts have sufficed for me. Being big is nice, and occasionally I’ve had to flatten a patient into the cot with some vigor. Especially the drunks. I really dislike violent drunks, both male and female.

    As for FF’s packing: On a fire call, I wouldn’t, ever. If I’m in the middle of a fire and I go down in the hot zone, the last thing I want my fellow volunteer FF’s worrying about is whether a there’s a live round in a chamber on me. They’re all as pro-gun as I am, and we’ve talked this over. The rational is “Just get my butt out of the heat, now, please, ASAP.” In reality, around here there’s never been any need as a FF to carry, other than perhaps putting an animal down after an animal/car accident.

  37. I’ve know a few Detroit EMTs and many of them conceal carry. Because of the large coverage area vs limited manpower along with insanely stupid 911 staff, they are frequently harassed at accident and fire scenes- sometimes to the threat of physical violence. I would never argue with them for carrying a handgun.

  38. The only problem I have with this article is the assumption that anyone carrying a gun is automatically a cop.

  39. It’s a tough question, because it’s not for EVERYONE! It’s an issue of liability, trained how to use it and when to use deadly force, and RESPONSIBILITY TO BE ARMED. It doesn’t guarantee your going home at the end of your shift or you might be receiving medical attention yourself. EMT should also be trained in tactical defense to protect themselves. The question is do I want to defend myself and what choices do I have or should I wait for authorities to come and defend me. State or Federal government should provide options and not interfere. Because many of this people makes the decision for the rest and they are not exposed to the environment that EMT are exposed and to me that is irresponsible. IT’S NOT FOR EVERYONE, IT’S A CHOICE, TRAINED IN THE USE OF A FIREARM and WHEN TO USE DEADLY FORCE, CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LIABILITIES, and YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE AND NO ONE ELSE.

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