Should Tactical Medics be armed?

Should a tactical medic be armed?

  • Yes

    Votes: 32 76.2%
  • No

    Votes: 10 23.8%

  • Total voters
    42

CWATT

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***see POLL above***

In my area, tactical medics are a 'newer thing' with each city and its local EMS service taking a slightly different approach to the selection process and how they are implemented. The general consensus is that Tac medics are employed by and report for duty to their local EMS service and are dispatched on request of the tactical team (at which point they will rendezvous at location). One perspective is this makes them medics first, tactical unit members second, so a firearm is not necessary to render emergency first aid. Another perspective is that the role of a Tac medic requires a firearm in lieu of the hazards it presents. .

I suspect the majorty of the forum members here are in the USA which has a strong pro-gun culture, so I'm hoping you can comment objectively on the role and scope of a tactical medic. (Personally, I'm not a fan of guns but I am in the camp that tactical medics should be armed).


- C
 

VFlutter

Flight Nurse
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If you are a tactical medic that just deploys with the team and stages at the command post then I see no reason to be armed. If you are part of the team and stacking on the door then you should be armed like everyone else. However I do not really see a point to the latter. Any member of the SWAT team should be able to provide the basic medical care until they can extract the victim to relative safety. You do not need a medic kicking down doors.
 

DesertMedic66

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Pretty much what Chase said. If they are staged in the cold or the warm zone then no they do not need to be armed. If they are with SWAT when they breach the door and are going interior then IMO they need to be armed and need to be shooters first and medics second. In a high risk operation you do not want to be out gunned.

If I am going interior on the intial breach I do not want to be placing myself in several kill zones or fatal funnels without some sort of way to defend myself.

As for the poll, I can’t answer due to my answer being “it depends”.
 

Akulahawk

EMT-P/ED RN
Community Leader
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I also can't answer the question because the answer "depends" upon the expected role of the medic. If the medic is part of the stack that's doing the entry, everyone in the stack must be armed and well-trained in clearing rooms and buildings. That's a "shooter-first, other role, second" scenario. If the medic is not part of the entry stack and only goes after all is clear OR injured people are brought out of the hot zone, then the medic doesn't need to be armed.
 

CALEMT

The Other Guy/ Paramaybe?
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Like the above posts I to believe that its situationally dependent. The "standard" barricaded suspect in a home scenario which I'm guessing is what we are all assuming here is going to depend if the medic is on the entry team or the perimeter team. Entry team yes, absolutely. Like Akulahawk has stated the primary mission or the main focus is "shooter-first" or eliminating/ incapacitating the threat. In essence the main mission is security. Example being a 2 man entry team. Guy 1 enters the door (aka fatal funnel) and gets shot. Guy 2's response is to eliminate the threat then tend to his partner.

The perimeter team on the other hand is where I'm split of armed vs unarmed. High risk call outs involve a higher risk of getting shot at and getting hit. Speaking from the stories that my dad (LEO of 29 years SWAT for 15 of those years) has told me there is just as much risk on the perimeter. So I'm split and can go either way.

In the dynamic shooter scenario where the shooter is mobile and actively moving hell yes is my answer. In those scenarios there is no "real" security and with the treat still out there you should be armed to have the ability to defend yourself and to defend others.
 

Akulahawk

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In the dynamic shooter scenario where the shooter is mobile and actively moving hell yes is my answer. In those scenarios there is no "real" security and with the treat still out there you should be armed to have the ability to defend yourself and to defend others.
This is the one situation where I would say that a person outside what would be normally considered the "hot zone" to be armed because in this specific situation there are no defined zones. In the active, mobile shooter, any armed asset that can respond to stop the threat should be allowed to do so. That's a "shooter-first" situation.

Of course I'm referring to on-duty stuff. Off-duty is an entirely different matter. When I'm off-duty, my primary duty is the safety/security of myself and my family, everything else is secondary. I'll be armed when I deem it necessary and few will be able to tell. If I'm working where EMS is allowed to be armed while on duty, I'd make that decision to carry concealed for exactly the same reason: security for self and partner.
 
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CWATT

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I suppose my thought is if the Tactical Medic is required to wear body arnour due to risk of being shot, I believe having the ability to protect ones self with the same force is only appropriate. Thoughts?
 

NysEms2117

ex-Parole officer/EMT
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Chase shares my opinion. Situations are hairy enough with fully trained SWAT or SORT(in my state, which i belong to) officers. All medics would do is get in the way if they are stacked with us(thus arming them), and that can't happen. also there is a simple fix for this:
I suppose my thought is if the Tactical Medic is required to wear body arnour due to risk of being shot, I believe having the ability to protect ones self with the same force is only appropriate. Thoughts?
Stay in the warm zone, or cold zone(my preference).

I ranted on this in another thread but heres the short simple solution. Find people like myself and plenty others out there who HAPPEN/ COINCIDENTALLY happen to be an EMT or a medic. Give us 4 TQ's or pick a number, an bag of OPA/NPA to put in a pocket somewhere, if something goes down let us do 5-10 seconds of medical care and move on to find whoever did it. Remember its better to get definitive care faster (short of clear life or death situations) and to do that you need to clear the area.

Bottom line: I don't want somebody being armed with myself on a situation like that unless they are trained to the level i am or above. Any paramedic I have met that primarily practices as a paramedic and not a LEO/SWAT/ military, officer/soldier cannot do that.

EDIT: Desert also brought up a good point about possibly getting yourself killed because you walked in a fatal funnel without proper training. Nobody wants that.
 

CALEMT

The Other Guy/ Paramaybe?
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Bottom line: I don't want somebody being armed with myself on a situation like that unless they are trained to the level i am or above. Any paramedic I have met that primarily practices as a paramedic and not a LEO/SWAT/ military, officer/soldier cannot do that.

I can't speak for every SWAT medic and/ or physician but for RSO the physician trained closely with the SWAT team. Better team dynamics and more of a rapport makes for a better system when SHTF. I don't know if the physician was armed or not but I believe that every SWAT medic should train with the team. Not just medical training, but entry techniques and small unit tactics (moving and communication) should be practiced as well.
 

DesertMedic66

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I can't speak for every SWAT medic and/ or physician but for RSO the physician trained closely with the SWAT team. Better team dynamics and more of a rapport makes for a better system when SHTF. I don't know if the physician was armed or not but I believe that every SWAT medic should train with the team. Not just medical training, but entry techniques and small unit tactics (moving and communication) should be practiced as well.
I just watch YouTube videos
 
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Akulahawk

EMT-P/ED RN
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I don't want somebody being armed with myself on a situation like that unless they are trained to the level i am or above. Any paramedic I have met that primarily practices as a paramedic and not a LEO/SWAT/ military, officer/soldier cannot do that.
One doesn't have to be trained as a LEO /soldier first before learning how to function as part of an entry team. I'm also not saying that a lot of training isn't required. One also doesn't have to continuously train every day in SWAT/Entry tactics, even those teams don't do daily practice to maintain proficiency. So, one can be primarily a medic as part of the "day job" but also be on an entry team as long as all training requirements are met just as the rest of the team is required to do. This, for any team member, is a huge requirement and responsibility.
I believe that every SWAT medic should train with the team. Not just medical training, but entry techniques and small unit tactics (moving and communication) should be practiced as well.
Yep.
If the medic is part of the stack that's doing the entry, everyone in the stack must be armed and well-trained in clearing rooms and buildings.
Just to show I also brought this up... you don't have to know all parts of being a police officer or soldier to be trained in dynamic entry techniques. The medic being trained for this needs to be able to shift their mindset to something along the lines of what's taught in TCCC and be able to do it. Once the shooting has stopped, then you can tend to the wounded because it's now safe for you to do it. In the process of getting there, you might just have to shoot back effectively to stop the threat.
 

FiremedicSC

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Sometimes the best medicine I can give will be rendered out of the business end of a Glock or 1911. However I am a special case


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Luno

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Yes, they should have the ability to protect themselves and their patient.
 
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CWATT

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Here's one such example of how tactical paramedics are being used...

Equipment list:
http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local...l-paramedics-are-using-war-zone-devloped-gear
*note the lack of a side-arm

Unit Integration:
http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/five-ottawa-first-responders-injured-in-training-exercise

I cannot comment specifically on the exact role/scope/policies of this agency, but I feel it's a safe guess that if they are close enough to sustain injuries during a breaching exercie, they are well-within the 'hot zone' (no pun intended). Do people feel these paramedics are being underequipped? Can paramedics be integrated into the line / breaching crew if provided with training on how to conduct themselves and maintain personal safety without being armed?
 

Luno

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Based on their published role, I don't think that they are underequipped, they have a similar role to the model put forward by cypress creek many years ago of a warm zone existence and entrance only when called/escorted. I really like the emphasis on the planning and knowledge piece, it's something that most "tacticool" medics miss out on.Their role in planning and decision making makes them the value add to the team rather than as an add on to the stack. As the medical subject matter expert, they advise the scene/tactical commander on medical and evacuation considerations. As far as not being armed, it isn't a huge stretch, since once you're occupied with patient care, you're pretty much out of the fight anyway.
 

NysEms2117

ex-Parole officer/EMT
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didn't even think a place like Ottawa would have them.
Can paramedics be integrated into the line / breaching crew if provided with training on how to conduct themselves and maintain personal safety without being armed?
I think that right there is the key. Medics are training in medicine... LEO and SWAT are training in safety and threat neutralization. Paramedics could actually do more harm then good by getting in the way.

However, i feel this will be a "touchy topic" that nobody will agree on. As somebody that is actively employed on both sides, my opinion in 1 word is NO.
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
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I suppose my thought is if the Tactical Medic is required to wear body arnour due to risk of being shot, I believe having the ability to protect ones self with the same force is only appropriate. Thoughts?
I think that's a fair statement (and one I think it's one @NysEms2117 disagrees with me on). If there is a high possibility that I might be shot, or shot at, to the point that I am wearing body armor (in this case, more than just a vest), than I want a way to defend myself, should the situation require it.
Do I want to shoot back? hell no, i'd rather the professionals do it.... but if they get taken out by the bad guy, and then he takes aim at me, I would want to have some way to defend myself, because if the bad guy has no issues shooting a bunch of cops, he will have no issue shooting a medic. And he might shoot me, might even kill me, but I don't want to make it easy, and I want to inflict as much damage on him before I take my last breath.
 

NysEms2117

ex-Parole officer/EMT
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I think that's a fair statement (and one I think it's one @NysEms2117 disagrees with me on). If there is a high possibility that I might be shot, or shot at, to the point that I am wearing body armor (in this case, more than just a vest), than I want a way to defend myself, should the situation require it.
Do I want to shoot back? hell no, i'd rather the professionals do it.... but if they get taken out by the bad guy, and then he takes aim at me, I would want to have some way to defend myself, because if the bad guy has no issues shooting a bunch of cops, he will have no issue shooting a medic. And he might shoot me, might even kill me, but I don't want to make it easy, and I want to inflict as much damage on him before I take my last breath.
I just look at it from a logic perspective. If Medics want plate carriers, GREAT, they want helmets, GREAT, but the carnage that would need to occur to take out a SWAT team (or in my case a SORT team), would be crazy. To be completely honest, if they take out the folks that are trained to neutralize threats, my money is going on they will take out the folks that are trained to be medical providers. Not to mention there are also perimeter control(normal street officers) that are also armed(and would most likely have eyes on the warm zone). To me all of it can be avoided by not becoming a tactical medic, and just having normal paramedics either wait in the cold zone where everything is safe(relative), OR have certain individuals that volunteer to put on a vest and go into the warm zone, where most protocols state casualties/injuries have to be moved to anyway...
Below is my true stance and tbh I think makes the most sense:
Find people like myself and plenty others out there who HAPPEN/ COINCIDENTALLY happen to be an EMT or a medic. Give us 4 TQ's or pick a number, an bag of OPA/NPA to put in a pocket somewhere, if something goes down let us do 5-10 seconds of medical care and move on to find whoever did it. Remember its better to get definitive care faster (short of clear life or death situations) and to do that you need to clear the area.

I can't speak for this point first hand since I never served in the military, but look at what they do, they get the casualty and get said individual to cover first. They don't treat them in the open. Thus why i don't see a need for medics to stack up with the special response breaching folks.
Again, I do in fact understand and see your point that if your risking your life by being a tactical medic you would like to be able to defend it, but just think about the levels of carnage that would have to occur to get to that point.
 

DrParasite

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To be completely honest, if they take out the folks that are trained to neutralize threats, my money is going on they will take out the folks that are trained to be medical providers.
I'm inclined to agree with you. I still want to be armed so I had get lucky and wing him and he stands over me to deliver the execution shot. Agree to disagree on this one?
To me all of it can be avoided by not becoming a tactical medic, and just having normal paramedics either wait in the cold zone where everything is safe(relative), OR have certain individuals that volunteer to put on a vest and go into the warm zone, where most protocols state casualties/injuries have to be moved to anyway...
or just eliminate tactical medics, train the cops to be EMTs, with a medic in the cold zone, and they can bring any injuries to us. If there is an elevated chance I might be shot at, I want to be able to defend myself.
I can't speak for this point first hand since I never served in the military, but look at what they do, they get the casualty and get said individual to cover first. They don't treat them in the open. Thus why i don't see a need for medics to stack up with the special response breaching folks.
And the military can shoot back if needed.

But with the new recommendation that the unarmed people be in the warm zone (in the building where active shooting is taking place, but not in the same room), and the fact that I want to go home at the end of my shift, than I want to have the same protection that the cops have when they go inside, and includes a way to defend myself should it come to that.

Again, I do in fact understand and see your point that if your risking your life by being a tactical medic you would like to be able to defend it, but just think about the levels of carnage that would have to occur to get to that point.
You ever been in a shootout without your gun? or been shot at, or heard gunfire near by? on duty, off duty, it doesn't matter. Because I am pretty sure one of your first thoughts was "I need to find safety for me and my family, and I hope those bullets don't get any closer because I don't have a thing I can do about it... and I really wish I had my gun on me, just in case the bad guy ended up between me and safety..."
 

NysEms2117

ex-Parole officer/EMT
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than I want to have the same protection that the cops have when they go inside, and includes a way to defend myself should it come to that.
then as a LEO i want to be able to get ketamine and intubate people??? If you want the duties of a law enforcement officer, become one. The same as if i want the duties of a paramedic i'll become one.
or just eliminate tactical medics, train the cops to be EMTs, with a medic in the cold zone, and they can bring any injuries to us. If there is an elevated chance I might be shot at, I want to be able to defend myself.
which is what i suggested :D WE AGREE!!!!
The rest of your points can be avoided mostly by common sense IMO (and mostly is used because anything can happen anywhere theoretically)
But with the new recommendation that the unarmed people be in the warm zone (in the building where active shooting is taking place, but not in the same room), and the fact that I want to go home at the end of my shift, than I want to have the same protection that the cops have when they go inside, and includes a way to defend myself should it come to that.
Also correct. However, in NYS the state SORT team also posts a minimum of 2 officers in whatever room/lobby/area is designated. Meaning 2 more people with higher paper qualifications to own and operate a firearm successfully. *yes i'm sure theres a paramedic somewhere that can outshoot a cop somewhere*.
 
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