Should EMS/Fire be armed?

OP
E tank

E tank

Caution: Paralyzing Agent
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DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
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Before we rehash everyone's individual options, and fear-mongering panic, I would encourage everyone to read from some experts and obtain some facts on this controversial topic.

for the record, I have never carried a firearm on an ambulance, nor have I ever wanted to.

The Time Has Come to Arm EMS/Fire. – DT4EMS

Kip Teitsort, Founder DT4EMS It is time to arm EMS/Fire with knowledge of the use-of-force on the job.
Before we get too deep, riddle me this...
dt4ems.com
dt4ems.com
www.ems1.com

Arming the EMS workforce

What recent legislative changes mean for equipping, arming and tactically training SWAT and TEMS medics
www.ems1.com
www.ems1.com
www.emsworld.com

The Myth of the Safe Scene


www.emsworld.com
www.emsworld.com
www.ambulnz.com

Arming EMTs — Ambulnz

Responding to life-threatening emergencies is an EMT’s job, but at times, it’s the EMTs themselves whose lives are threatened…
www.ambulnz.com
www.ambulnz.com
www.emsworld.com

Call to Arms


www.emsworld.com
www.emsworld.com
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
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and if you want to see what was discussed previously...

 

ffemt8978

Forum Vice-Principal
Community Leader
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I don't know what the answer to this question is, because I can see benefits and drawbacks to each side.

Our social environment has changed drastically since those previous threads were posted, and we need to look at this topic in light of that.

Are we willing to accept the consequences of an EMS provider having to shoot and possibly kill the person they were called to help?
 

CALEMT

The Other Guy/ Paramaybe?
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I was gonna say. I thought there was already a thread on this.
 

Carlos Danger

Forum Deputy Chief
Premium Member
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Are we willing to accept the consequences of an EMS provider having to shoot and possibly kill the person they were called to help?
If it is purely defensive, as every gun use should be, then why not? How is it any different than any other defensive gun use?
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
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Are we willing to accept the consequences of an EMS provider having to shoot and possibly kill the person they were called to help?
That is a very real consequence. Almost as real as an EMS provider being shot in the line of duty. And while some will say that never happens:
==FIREFIGHTER & PARAMEDIC SHOT IN CALIFORNIA
Two personnel were struck in a drive-by shooting last night in Antioch, Contra Costa County.
A Contra Costa County Firefighter and an American Medical Response Medic were at a medical emergency on Sycamore Drive around 2100 hours when the drive-by occurred and gunfire struck the two. The Firefighter was shot in the foot and the EMR was shot in the leg. Both were taken to a nearby hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. KTIYP’s.
VIDEO:

I'm not saying we should or should not be armed, but we need to acknowledge the risks, and admin that it happens more often than we want, if we are going to have a reasonable discussion about this topic.
 

NomadicMedic

Pot or Kettle? Unsure.
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Should physicians and nurses be armed?
Should trash collectors, bartenders or librarians be armed?

I think this argument is pointless... and can’t be won. Simply pointless. Asking this question is akin to asking others about abortion or religion or dems vs GOP.

All this thread will accomplish is a bunch of blather, hyperbole and possibly a ban or two.

If you want to debate a pointless topic, have at it folks.
 

FiremanMike

EMS Coordinator
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One thing that is often forgotten in these discussions is the security of your weapon. Having done both, the mental focus when wearing my cop uniform is completely different from when I'm working as a medic on an EMS run.

I think it would be VERY difficult to focus and process patient assessment and care while maintaining full awareness and retention of your weapon. Remember, you are bringing a gun into every scene and it is YOUR responsibility to make sure it stays in the hands of the good guys.
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
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One thing that is often forgotten in these discussions is the security of your weapon. Having done both, the mental focus when wearing my cop uniform is completely different from when I'm working as a medic on an EMS run.

I think it would be VERY difficult to focus and process patient assessment and care while maintaining full awareness and retention of your weapon. Remember, you are bringing a gun into every scene and it is YOUR responsibility to make sure it stays in the hands of the good guys.
I've never been a cop, so please explain. I would imagine a cop has to pay attention to the details of their surroundings, watch for everyone who may try to hurt you, identify evidence at a crime scene, comfort victims of crimes, document details for reports, fight with combative criminals, chase after fleeing bad guys, perform CPR on granny who won't wake up before the ambulance arrives, investigate an open residential door, not knowing if the person inside wants to shoot you... or knocking on a front door, without knowing who is behind the door. That's a lot to think about, especially since many cops work solo; at least on most ambulances, you have a partner who is always with you.

So what makes all that stuff easier to do while having a weapon (or really weapons) that needs to be secured, than being a medic who is focusing on patient assessment and care?

And I think no one disagrees that it is the person who is carrying the firearm's responsibility to ensure that their firearms says in the hands of the good guys at all times.
 

CarSevenFour

Forum Crew Member
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Although I had the need for a weapon at times in the ambulance, I'm still here, so I guess the need was more of a perception than reality. I worked in big cities in Southern California and went on some pretty bad calls that required 100% of my attention to be on the patient. A weapon would have simply been a hindrance most of the time.
 

Carlos Danger

Forum Deputy Chief
Premium Member
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I think this argument is pointless... and can’t be won. Simply pointless. Asking this question is akin to asking others about abortion or religion or dems vs GOP.
It isn't an argument; it is a discussion. And why is this topic any less worthy of discussion than any other?
 

NomadicMedic

Pot or Kettle? Unsure.
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It isn't an argument; it is a discussion. And why is this topic any less worthy of discussion than any other?

The definition of argument is: a reason or set of reasons given with the aim of persuading others that an action or idea is right or wrong.

And this is pointless because my opinion is that EMS providers should not carry a firearm. You believe they should have the option. Neither one of us is going to change our mind. Pointless.
 

Carlos Danger

Forum Deputy Chief
Premium Member
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And this is pointless because my opinion is that EMS providers should not carry a firearm. You believe they should have the option. Neither one of us is going to change our mind. Pointless.
You seem to be saying that just because your opinion is at odds with the opinion that others hold means that the topic should never be discussed. Is that an accurate understanding? If consensus were the metric for whether or not a discussion should take place, would there ever be any productive discussion at all?

Just trying to understand your animosity to the discussion here.

My position on the issue may surprise you, FWTW.
 

NomadicMedic

Pot or Kettle? Unsure.
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No, I think that firearms for EMS is an extremely polarizing topic, and that nobody will change their opinion, no matter what points are presented.

This comes up in every EMS forum or group every few months and it always becomes a debate that degrades into something EMTlife won’t let me write. :)
 

Carlos Danger

Forum Deputy Chief
Premium Member
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No, I think that firearms for EMS is an extremely polarizing topic, and that nobody will change their opinion, no matter what points are presented.

This comes up in every EMS forum or group every few months and it always becomes a debate that degrades into something EMTlife won’t let me write. :)
Well, I think you are wrong. I think it is an interesting discussion that, while beaten to death sometimes, does offer opportunity for evolution in understanding. Any discussion can go off the rails and I would concede that this one is probably more likely to than most, but I do not presume that the regulars on here will necessarily do that. Look at the COVID vaccine discussion. That went lots of different directions and got a little heated at points, but turned out to be a really valuable talk where folks with different viewpoints made compelling cases. @FiremanMike already made a comment on this thread that I think he is uniquely qualified to make which made me stop and think.

Why don't you give it a try and explain why you think EMT's and Paramedics carrying firearms for personal protection is such a bad idea?
 

CCCSD

Forum Asst. Chief
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So now you are going to add 300-1400 hrs of training in law, weapons, DTAC, defusing crises, etc etc etc to EMT school? Just wondering where all that weapons training will be done?
Oh, forgot the legal standards and laws that need to be written.
Liability. Who’s going to pay when bullets fly?
What, exactly, ARE the Use of Force standards? Can’t just claim self defense...Cops sure can’t, why would you be different? Heck. States are removing Qualified Immunity right and left and charging cops weekly for anything.
 

Peak

ED/Prehospital Registered Nurse
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Why would there need to be a different set of laws for a non-LEO who has a valid concealed carry permit to carry while working in EMS than when they are living the rest of their lives, particularly with use of force?

If a 6’5” 300 pound build man tries to strangle me and I’ll in genuine fear for my life why would it make a legal difference if I was attacked while buying lottery tickets at a gas station or transporting him for a paronychia at 3am?

Unless you are planning to use EMS for some form of security or law enforcement why would they be held to that expectation?
 

NomadicMedic

Pot or Kettle? Unsure.
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I don’t believe that most EMS providers would be able to meet the training and qualification standards required to safely retain and use a firearm.

I believe arming EMS workers is a huge liability issue that EMS agencies should not have to assume. A provider carrying an unauthorized weapon while on duty could prove catastrophic to an agency if that weapon were ever displayed or discharged.

Anecdotal experience, I have been in violent situations that have ended without the use of firearms. Had I or my partner been armed, that might not have been the case.

My personal opinion... as a quality improvement and education manager, based on the poor judgement and lack of control I’ve witnessed, I am very scared about putting weapons in the hands of many of the providers on the street.

I am not anti-gun. However, I don’t believe prehospital providers need to carry a firearm while on duty and since this has been circulating through the EMS world, I’ve yet to hear a compelling argument that will convince me to change my mind.

Doug Wolfberg from PWW has a decent position that I agree with as far as firearms on ambulances.

In my view, the most important thing to consider is the risk to the EMS providers themselves and to the patients they serve. The risk of an EMS provider’s weapon being used against them by a disturbed or combative patient is probably just as pronounced as the risk of deadly force being used against the EMS provider in the first place.

Even highly-trained law enforcement officers have their guns taken from them and used against them; EMS providers with even less firearm training or experience than LEOs would likely face a higher risk, particularly since they are also supposed to be focused on other duties like patient care and therefore less attentive to their firearm. Patients who are making threats or who express suicidal ideations would have yet one more option to inflict harm on themselves or others if a firearm was within reach.

Some states expressly prohibit the carrying of firearms by EMS personnel. Pennsylvania EMS regulations, for example, state that "weapons and explosives may not be worn by EMS providers or EMS vehicle operators or carried aboard an EMS vehicle." And even in states where there is no such prohibition, employers are generally within their rights to prohibit concealed carry of firearms by employees on the job (Wisconsin law says this, as one example).

So legal and employment prohibitions also must be considered before any EMS provider decides to carry a weapon on the job. No EMS provider should carry a weapon on the job without the prior knowledge and permission of their employer; it would not be a Second Amendment violation for an employer to discipline or terminate an EMS provider who carries a weapon on the job without the permission of his employer.
 

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