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Thread: Ambulance/EMT question

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    Ambulance/EMT question

    I have recently started working as a volunteer with my local rescue squad. I was told that Virginia state law prohibits rescue squad personnel from carrying on an ambulance. I cannot find any such law. Does anyone know where the state stands on this?

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    Activist Member Wolf_shadow's Avatar
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    VCDL Addressed this

    Here is the answer to VCDL from Mike Berg to VCDL about that:

    Dear Mr. xxx,

    As the Manager for the Regulation and Compliance Division for the Office of Emergency Medical Services, Mr. Brown has asked that I reply to your inquiry. Your question concerns the ability for EMS providers to be able to carry weapons during the course of their duties, especially while on an ambulance or responding to a request for assistance.

    When the current version of the EMS Regulations were being promulgated (January 15, 2003), there was indeed a proposed regulation disallowing the carrying of weapons by EMS personnel on an ambulance. There was a mounted campaign against such a proposal and indeed the proposed regulation was withdrawn. Unfortunately, in another section of the regulations, specifically, 12 VAC 5-31- 700 EMS Safety (6) in part states, "Possession of a firearm, weapon, or explosive or incendiary device on any EMS vehicle is prohibited, excepts This was to have been removed during the revision process and simply was an oversight. We have administratively directed our field staff to not enforce this specific provision of the regulations.

    I hope this answers your questions and addresses your concerns. Please feel free to call on me should we be of any additional assistance.

    Michael D. Berg
    Manager, Regulation and Compliance
    Virginia Office of EMS
    109 Governor Street, Suite UB-55
    Richmond, Virginia 23219
    (804)864-7615 (Office)
    (804)864-7580 (Fax)
    (800)523-6019 (Virginia only)
    Michael.Berg@vdh.virginia.gov
    Although some departments have internal rules regarding this.

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    Regular Member streetdoc's Avatar
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    Here's the link to what was posted, http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...+12VAC5-31-700
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    Here's a short recent blurb that is a good example of the situation our Fire and EMS guys/gals may find themselves in.

    http://www.northernnecknews.com/news...idarticle=3510

    What does your squad say? I would think you would prefer a concealed carry if possible to not escalate the situation with the drunk and disorderly patients you will encounter. Also, with the chaos of a MVC, extrication, etc. I think you would find it hard to maintain situational awareness.

    Consider also the Emerg Depts that you will be going into, will they be happy to see OC? I can surely say no.

    If i was able to carry on duty, I would conceal but that's just me (I can't carry anyway due to employer rules).

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TraumaRN View Post
    Here's a short recent blurb that is a good example of the situation our Fire and EMS guys/gals may find themselves in.

    http://www.northernnecknews.com/news...idarticle=3510

    What does your squad say? I would think you would prefer a concealed carry if possible to not escalate the situation with the drunk and disorderly patients you will encounter. Also, with the chaos of a MVC, extrication, etc. I think you would find it hard to maintain situational awareness.

    Consider also the Emerg Depts that you will be going into, will they be happy to see OC? I can surely say no.

    If i was able to carry on duty, I would conceal but that's just me (I can't carry anyway due to employer rules).
    I don't understand disorderly patients. I've had the rescue squad called for me twice. The first time, I had a leg that was broken in three places. I didn't call them and didn't go with them (Long story) But thanked them and apologized for them making the trip for nothing.

    The second time my left hand was nearly detached and I'd lost a ton of blood. I was extremely happy to have a ride to the hospital. ( I didn't call them that time either)

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    Regular Member paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Dang it Wolf Shadow you stole my thunder. I initiated that inquiry.

    To the OP: While carrying a firearm on an ambulance is legal per the state, you may want to consider what you will do if called to respond to a jail, prison, courthouse or school. If your agency is cool with it, you will have to secure the firearm on board the medic before you go in these places or risk being prosecuted.
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    Regular Member paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    I don't understand disorderly patients.

    Drunk, drugged, low blood sugar, didn't take meds, acute psychiatric episode, bipolar, depression, suicidal, head injury, post-seizure, shock, hypoxia (low oxygen level in brain), metabolic imbalance, anxiety, fear, pain, concealed criminal activity, under arrest, unmet expectation of care (blame TV), poor attitude of EMS, and/or a combination of these. I'm sure there's more but that's all I can think of right now.
    Last edited by paramedic70002; 08-01-2010 at 09:31 AM.
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    Activist Member Wolf_shadow's Avatar
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    Sorry paramedic70002.
    +1 on Drunk, etc. I've been in Fire/EMS for going on 40 years and have seen a lot of unrully pt's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf_shadow View Post
    Sorry paramedic70002.
    +1 on Drunk, etc. I've been in Fire/EMS for going on 40 years and have seen a lot of unrully pt's.
    Wolf_shadow, I have about the same number of years under my belt as well and I can truly say not once have I needed a firearm to protect myself. Protocol demands a police presence before entering a dangerous situation. I am not saying there are not dangerous situations, just never needed a firearm. I have much cooler items at my disposal should the need arise.

    To the OP, if you want to carry a firearm find police department that has auxiliary officers and join. Firearms and ambulances don't mix and never will.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenny View Post
    Wolf_shadow, I have about the same number of years under my belt as well and I can truly say not once have I needed a firearm to protect myself. Protocol demands a police presence before entering a dangerous situation. I am not saying there are not dangerous situations, just never needed a firearm. I have much cooler items at my disposal should the need arise.

    To the OP, if you want to carry a firearm find police department that has auxiliary officers and join. Firearms and ambulances don't mix and never will.
    Depending on the PD to protect you is like playing the stock market and depending on a rabbits foot to get rich.

    There's nothing wrong with the OP feeling the need to be armed Kenny. Sometimes I really wonder why you're here. Some of the stuff you come up with is more anti then the anti's.

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    Activist Member Wolf_shadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenny View Post
    Wolf_shadow, I have about the same number of years under my belt as well and I can truly say not once have I needed a firearm to protect myself. Protocol demands a police presence before entering a dangerous situation. I am not saying there are not dangerous situations, just never needed a firearm. I have much cooler items at my disposal should the need arise.

    To the OP, if you want to carry a firearm find police department that has auxiliary officers and join. Firearms and ambulances don't mix and never will.
    Tell that to the fire/medic that was on what was supposed to be on a routine sick person call and was attacked. It took ten minutes to get help there.

    Kenny do you always know exactly what your walking into? I haven't ever needed my firearm and hope I never do, but like a fire extinguisher I'd rather have it.

    Currently in Virginia it is a felony to attack a Volunteer EMT/Firefighter. That wasn't the case until some members of my department were attacked and the case was thrown out by the judge because of the way the law was written. We had to go to our rep in the legislature to get it changed.

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    Activist Member Wolf_shadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    Depending on the PD to protect you is like playing the stock market and depending on a rabbits foot to get rich.

    There's nothing wrong with the OP feeling the need to be armed Kenny. Sometimes I really wonder why you're here. Some of the stuff you come up with is more anti then the anti's.
    +1

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenny View Post
    Protocol demands a police presence before entering a dangerous situation.
    What if the police create the dangerous situation?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KluItc365hU

    Quote Originally Posted by kenny View Post
    To the OP, if you want to carry a firearm find police department that has auxiliary officers and join.
    That's like telling anybody that wants to carry a firearm to join the police department. What sense does that make at all?

    Quote Originally Posted by kenny View Post
    Firearms and ambulances don't mix and never will.
    How many times have we heard similar to that with other situations/places, especially recently with the CC in alcohol-serving establishments law going into effect? Are you active with the Brady Campaign on a national, state, or local level?

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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    Depending on the PD to protect you is like playing the stock market and depending on a rabbits foot to get rich.

    There's nothing wrong with the OP feeling the need to be armed Kenny. Sometimes I really wonder why you're here. Some of the stuff you come up with is more anti then the anti's.
    Since I have never walked in your shoe and I know that you have not walked in mind please respect my opinion and the numerous years of experience that back it up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf_shadow View Post
    Tell that to the fire/medic that was on what was supposed to be on a routine sick person call and was attacked. It took ten minutes to get help there.

    Kenny do you always know exactly what your walking into? I haven't ever needed my firearm and hope I never do, but like a fire extinguisher I'd rather have it.

    Currently in Virginia it is a felony to attack a Volunteer EMT/Firefighter. That wasn't the case until some members of my department were attacked and the case was thrown out by the judge because of the way the law was written. We had to go to our rep in the legislature to get it changed.
    I agree with your first sentence.

    Your second sentence is a little vague. Just because it is felony to attack a volunteer EMS/FF that makes it o.k. to carry? I'm sure your department will have something to say about that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curtis View Post
    What if the police create the dangerous situation?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KluItc365hU



    That's like telling anybody that wants to carry a firearm to join the police department. What sense does that make at all?



    How many times have we heard similar to that with other situations/places, especially recently with the CC in alcohol-serving establishments law going into effect? Are you active with the Brady Campaign on a national, state, or local level?
    I am there to treat the sick or injured, not to cause further harm.

    Any department or squad will tell if you even fell you like is in danger, leave the scene.

    I did not say anything about alcohol serving establishments or the Brady Campaign and I do not patronize either.

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    Super Moderator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by peter nap
    Depending on the PD to protect you is like playing the stock market and depending on a rabbits foot to get rich.

    There's nothing wrong with the OP feeling the need to be armed Kenny. Sometimes I really wonder why you're here. Some of the stuff you come up with is more anti then the anti's.
    Quote Originally Posted by kenny View Post
    Since I have never walked in your shoe and I know that you have not walked in mind please respect my opinion and the numerous years of experience that back it up.
    Respecting one's right to have an opinion is NOT the same as agreeing with it nor does it become more valid based on time in grade.
    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time.

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    How does the mere presence of a gun and the fact that one is carrying it bring harm to the scene and/or those you are trying to treat?

    Just as feeling safe and being safe are two different things, danger can be the same. One can feel like they are in danger, and not be... or feel safe, and be in danger. The difference between feeling safe and being safe is brought up a lot on this site and through many other pro gun mediums. I'm surprised you can't make the correlation or connect the dots between the fallacies of the anti-gun approach to many common situations in relation to how you are approaching this... but then again you don't seem to understand analogous links very well at all.

    I didn't say you said anything about either of the two (ABC-on establishments and the Brady Campaign); I said that what you did say was analogous to what has been said about or by them, respectively.
    Last edited by Curtis; 08-01-2010 at 05:36 PM.

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    Regular Member simmonsjoe's Avatar
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    He drank the kool-aide

    There are some stupid ideas floated around by many EMT programs.

    If you think you can always avoid a bad situation, cancel all your insurance plans, sell all your guns, and go join the other feel-good crowd.
    illegal ≠ immoral legal ≠ moral
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    Regular Member paramedic70002's Avatar
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    What a curious route this thread has taken. I can't follow the logic that 'citizens' are OK to carry but EMS has no place for weapons. I may not have as much experience in EMS as some (only 28 years service versus 40, urban and rural, career and volunteer) but I can tell you that we go into people's houses and meet them on their worst days. While most patients and families give us no trouble whatsoever, there are plenty of exceptions to the rule.

    I have personally been in some very compromising positions. I have had multiple family members close our avenue of escape and threaten us. I have walked into houses with the windows blacked out and no interior lighting. Imagine going from daylight to the bottom of a cave. No night vision at all. I know one EMT that had a knife pulled on him. One whole crew got attacked by a mob and beaten severely.

    Recently in the news a crew was evaluating a man who got angry and went into another room. He came out with a firearm. They ran but the EMT in the rear took a round in the back and was killed. An EMS crew was murdered by an angry spouse when they got back to the station from a run. An EMT was shot by a drunk that they had given a ride home. An engine company was jumped by a gang and beaten. The list goes on, these are just the tip of the iceberg.

    EMS assaults are such an issue that EMSNews has a Bodily Assault Log http://www.emsnetwork.org/artman/pub...assaults.shtml and there is a training company that specializes in teaching self defense to EMS www.dt4ems.com .

    Several years ago there was an EMT who shot a woman coming at him with a knife. There were 2 LEOs on scene who ordered her to stop but never moved on her.

    LEOs keeping EMS safe is a fallacy. Their job is to interview and arrest. Sometimes they get shot, so they can't always even keep themselves safe.

    I carried a sidearm for several years in a volunteer capacity. I never had a problem. The weapon was concealed in a nondescript zippered waist pack or in a belly band under my armpit. It never interfered with my activities, I never found it to be in danger of being found or taken, yet it was always available if I needed it.

    My current employer bans weapons on duty. I comply. I figure the odds of being discovered with a weapon are a bit higher than needing that weapon. Plus I have multiple knives, OC spray, portable oxygen bottles, etc. But I really wish that VA had Codified exemptions and protections for on duty Fire and EMS.

    Being in Fire or EMS is no reason for me to give up my God given and Constitutionally protected right to self defense. Is a Firefighter's or EMT's life worth less than someone else's?
    Last edited by paramedic70002; 08-02-2010 at 09:44 AM.
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    Regular Member simmonsjoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002 View Post
    Being in Fire or EMS is no reason for me to give up my God given and Constitutionally protected right to self defense. Is a Firefighter's or EMT's life worth less than someone else's?
    un-alienable means you CAN'T give up your right.

    As I've stated before, rights incur responsibilities.
    Since these right are un-alienable, you can't get rid of the responsibilities either.
    You are responsible for your life.
    illegal ≠ immoral legal ≠ moral
    "I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent." -Thomas Jefferson
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    Super Moderator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simmonsjoe View Post
    un-alienable means you CAN'T give up your right.

    As I've stated before, rights incur responsibilities.
    Since these right are un-alienable, you can't get rid of the responsibilities either.
    You are responsible for your life.
    You can waive your rights. Others cannot waive them for you.
    Last edited by Grapeshot; 08-02-2010 at 11:01 AM. Reason: spelling
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenny View Post
    I am there to treat the sick or injured, not to cause further harm.
    Then you choose the rational route that the person generating this topic would choose; don't shoot the patient, as long as he/she remains a patient. If they become an uncontrollable aggressor, different story. If some other person in the area becomes an aggressor, also different story.

    Quote Originally Posted by kenny
    Any department or squad will tell if you even fell you like is in danger, leave the scene.
    Of course. What is wrong with being prepared for the time/s when the danger is not noticed before retreat is no longer possible? (assuming you meant to say "if you even feel your life is in danger..")

    Quote Originally Posted by kenny
    I did not say anything about alcohol serving establishments or the Brady Campaign and I do not patronize either.
    Good for you. Though your thoughts and arguments do fit nicely into the Brady Campaign's game plan. Maybe they have taken over your brain and you just do not know it yet.


    and @GS (waive)
    Last edited by wrightme; 08-02-2010 at 11:08 AM.
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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    I can't help but wonder... since emergency services of all kinds are a function of government, with McDonald in play now, how can it be legal for them to be banned?

    TFred

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenny View Post
    I agree with your first sentence.

    Your second sentence is a little vague. Just because it is felony to attack a volunteer EMS/FF that makes it o.k. to carry? I'm sure your department will have something to say about that.
    It was very clear. Where he works, it is now a felony to attack a volunteer EMS/FF because he and his co-workers worked to get the law written as such. That said nothing about it "ok to carry," though why you would argue that it isn't ok to carry is odd.

    You are basically stating that though EMS/FF go into known dangerous situations that they should be arbitrarily stripped of a right to choose to carry for defense. That is not rational.
    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin

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