Thursday, September 27, 2012

Guns, guns, and more guns.

There are many posts going up about guns in EMS and allowing concealed carry on ambulances.


The ever wise Ambulance Driver

I am not going to take the time to research the numbers because I do not need to.  We see story after story of EMS personnel killed in motor vehicle accidents while operating ambulances.  We all know of personal friends that have had to switch careers because of work related back injuries.  I have had friends severely injured in falls and other hazards that are common to allot of the scenes we go to everyday.

Why the hell are we so focused on the "what if this happens" and the need to "be able to defend ourselves" of something that is so rare and unpredictable there is no way to prevent it 100%.  I now only know of one person shot at while  working EMS in the 17 years I have been doing it.  This on person was fodder in random violence and no firearm or amount of training could have prevented it.  Thankfully he is OK and escaped with a few minor injuries.  Would he have been able to respond if he had been carrying concealed?  Sure but, out of the shot out window in the back of a truck going hot he would have been totally ineffective with a sidearm against another vehicle.  All he would have done is put a lot of others at risk with flying lead.

We can decide to worry about the risks we can mitigate:

Back injuries are a needless thing and are caused by the carelessness of lifting mechanics.  You know those classes some of you are daydreaming in.  Daydreaming of how we can get concealed carry on the ambulance instead of learning something and applying it.

Vehicle accidents cannot be taken out of emergency driving but, proper training and risk mitigation can lower the numbers and injuries.  Maybe a proper priority dispatch system and an attitude change of fast and reckless driving.  This is by far the number one killer of EMS personnel, not a violent bystander or patient.

Instead of weapons we should be asking for Non-Violent Crisis Intervention training.  We should be asking for Verbal Judo training.  We should be asking for self defense training so when the time comes to run and someone wants to stop you from running you can persuade them to let you go.  If I remember right there was an incident in Louisville KY a number of years ago that killed a Paramedic and her partner.  When they entered a house they were shot and killed.  There is no weapon that could have prevented this and they did not know what hit them.  If arming medics was the answer why do we have Police Officers being ambushed and killed?  They are trained and armed to deal with that.

In my medium sized city we have had 66 stabbings, 63 shootings, 321 robberies, and 14 homicides so far this year.  464 incidents of violent encounters in the city and 1 against EMS, less than a .2% chance in 1 out of 17 years I can remember that EMS was targeted.  I know of 4 ambulance that have been severely damaged out of 15 trucks, 27% of the vehicles.  I am more concerned about 27% than the .2%.

We need to get out priorities straightened out and fix what we can.