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Thread: EMS and carrying firearms

  1. #1
    Regular Member streetdoc's Avatar
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    EMS and carrying firearms

    I received this link in one of my EMS Journals, its a well written article about EMT's carrying firearms. They correct a couple of wrong "facts" and give you information to think about. Take a look if the subject interest you;

    http://www.emsworld.com/article/10442064/call-to-arms
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    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    Well...

    "MT Melissa Greenhagen was shot in the back by a sniper in a hospital parking lot."

    All the carry in the world wouldn't have stopped that attack.

    An acquaintance of mine is an EMT. He's pro-gun, but says carrying on the job is the last thing he wants to do on account of the frequent physical interactions with patients, both cooperative and non-cooperative. He doesn't want to have to worry about a possible gun grab. He says on most responses, there are other big, burly firemen out there to help subdue an unruly patient. If the patient is armed or otherwise dangerous, they usually don't require immediate treatment, so they back off, let the LEOs do their thing, then re-engage.

    Then there's the fact that the primary job is to administer medical treatment, and that some patients have a genuine fear of firearms. It's like when we have extended family get-togethers. I don't OC then because a few are opposed, and it's more important to me to facilitate the family get-together and maintaining good relations with my cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews, and nieces than to prove a personal point.
    Last edited by since9; 10-27-2011 at 04:44 AM.
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    Regular Member Jay's Avatar
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    I have been in EMS for over sixteen years including having worked in some dangerous cities. Yes, it is true that scene safety is of first importance to protecting yourself. However what happens when you get dispatched to a woman who has fallen. Do you stage for police or do you go in? Well for a fall you wouldn't wait for police you would go in. Now you go in and find out the reason she fell is her ex-husband pushed her down a flight of stairs. You try to leave but the ex-husband is there blocking your egress and tells you that you ain't going anywhere with a knife in his hand. Ooops!!!!

    Yeah someone can take your gun and ya da ya da ya da, but I do not think it is any more riskier then a cop having his gun taken, and would actually think the risk would be lower. Chances are you are going to know if you are going for a psych., and just because you are carrying a firearm doesn't mean you are the police. You would still wait until the police show up to secure the scene. The firearm would just be there for you should you find yourself in the situation above.

    I also believe to be able to carry that an EMT or Paramedic would need to take mandatory firearms qualification and re-qualification just like LEO's.

    I support this 100%
    Last edited by Jay; 10-27-2011 at 07:41 AM.
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    Regular Member fire suppressor's Avatar
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    I've been working EMS for the past seven years and have been on all kinds of calls and had my share of close calls. I have had a gun pulled on me more than once luckily for me and my partner we always had police with us when this happened. I am pro Firefighter and EMT carry 110% it shouldn't be made monitory but it should be made a legal option
    Last edited by fire suppressor; 10-27-2011 at 07:47 AM.
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    Regular Member DocWalker's Avatar
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    Cool

    I have been an EMT and Paramedic for almost 30 years and even worked as a firefighter/paramedic for a few years. I'm most defiantly pro-gun and have carried while performing medical duties in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thank being said I don't think it is likely you will see EMS carrying in the USA in the near future except for places like the police/paramedic flights in Baltimore. A few reasons might be:

    1. You shouldn't enter a scene that isn't safe, remember "scene safety".

    2. We have or should have police available in situations that might go bad. I for one know that is no guarantee and have been shot at working here in the USA.

    3. I do like having Haldol and Atavan available for those patients that are disruptive, and if that doesn't work you can try some Succinylcholine and paralyze the sucker as one of my partners did when the patient tried to kill us in the back of an ambulance. That calmed him down but quick, just remember to bag them.

    These reasons not withstanding, you do have to get close up with your patients and if you are allowed to carry I suggest a good retention holster.

  6. #6
    Regular Member hermannr's Avatar
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    I am not an EMT, and never have been one...but, IMHO anyone that works in a job such as an EMT should have the personal option to carry if they wish. Why should their job remove that option of personal protection?

    I have carried for over 40 years, I have one verifiable instance where my Holstered OC stopped a problem before it ever started to get out of hand, I have never even had to remove my OC from it's holster. If the presence, or possible presence of a carry deters one instance, it should be enough reason to give the EMT that option, don't you think?

    I absolutely concur with a very secure holster, Level II minimum, Level III better. We are not worried about being quick draw McGraw, but stopping the possibility of the removal of someone's arm while being occupied saving someone else's life..no?
    Last edited by hermannr; 10-27-2011 at 05:52 PM.

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    Regular Member DrakeZ07's Avatar
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    I've been an EMT for four years. Not much when compared to the others who have responded, and really only have few things to say about carrying.

    I'm 100% in favor of Open Carrying everyone, but when it comes to myself, and my department... I believe that should be left to LEO's, and Vollies. My number one job on scene is to ensure the safety of myself, my partner, and my patient(s). Carrying a firearm is going to put myself, or my partner, as a big white shirted target for a hostile person. I'm here to help my fellow man, to administer whatever aid I need, to tend and treat the wounded, and to save lives, not take them.

    I cannot guarantee the safety of anyone on my scene if I get shot as soon as I climb out of the bus, because some hostile saw a pistol on my hip and took me for a cop. Granted, I have responded to plenty of scenes where it was hostile, and the LEO's took their sweet time to get there priority 3. But still. Let's say we got called to a home, shots fired, one person down, no other info. When I arrive on scene, and theres no cop's, I'm going to grab my bag, and the stretcher, and I'm going in. Because it's my duty, and honor to help. We go in, and there's someone on the ground bleeding, another person a few yards away with a gun. I'm going to remain calm, and ensure the hostile that I only want to help the wounded.

    Would I like to have the ability or option to Open Carry on the job? yea, who wouldn't? urban, or rural EMT's and our firefighter brethren work in constant risk and danger. Would it be practical? Would it be in line with the core values, and principles of our job? That's a gray area. Would it help us do our job? No. We cannot save lives if we ourselves become patients because someone took us for a cop and opened fire. EMS personal put their lives on the line for someone else. When I walk onto a scene, my life doesn't matter. The only concern I have is the patient.

    Sorry if it doesn't make much sense, and having a banter. I know a lot of you vet's have your reasons, and call me what you will. But We don't need to draw attention to ourselves. We don't operate in a warzone or in combat, we don't need to carry a sidearm. We're trained to save lives, and to sometimes put our lives on the line to help someone else.

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  8. #8
    Regular Member Jack House's Avatar
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    It seems some people are assuming the only method of carry is open. Why not just carry concealed?

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    Both my sister and my aunt work as ER nurses, (at separate hospitals) and they've both told me several nurses and doctors conceal during their shifts. I don't know what the hospital policies are, respectively, but regardless, that does not stop these individuals. I think everyone should have the choice to arm themselves or not, no matter where they might be geographically.

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    I am an EMT-B and I think that firearms carry by EMS should be permitted but not mandatory. I can see it as being beneficial in many ways. IMHO, I am not certain open would be the best option but that is for the end user to decide.

    This issue is oft spoken of over on EMTlife and other forums.

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  11. #11
    Regular Member Jay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrakeZ07 View Post
    I've been an EMT for four years. Not much when compared to the others who have responded, and really only have few things to say about carrying.

    I'm 100% in favor of Open Carrying everyone, but when it comes to myself, and my department... I believe that should be left to LEO's, and Vollies. My number one job on scene is to ensure the safety of myself, my partner, and my patient(s). Carrying a firearm is going to put myself, or my partner, as a big white shirted target for a hostile person. I'm here to help my fellow man, to administer whatever aid I need, to tend and treat the wounded, and to save lives, not take them.

    I cannot guarantee the safety of anyone on my scene if I get shot as soon as I climb out of the bus, because some hostile saw a pistol on my hip and took me for a cop. Granted, I have responded to plenty of scenes where it was hostile, and the LEO's took their sweet time to get there priority 3. But still. Let's say we got called to a home, shots fired, one person down, no other info. When I arrive on scene, and theres no cop's, I'm going to grab my bag, and the stretcher, and I'm going in. Because it's my duty, and honor to help. We go in, and there's someone on the ground bleeding, another person a few yards away with a gun. I'm going to remain calm, and ensure the hostile that I only want to help the wounded.

    Would I like to have the ability or option to Open Carry on the job? yea, who wouldn't? urban, or rural EMT's and our firefighter brethren work in constant risk and danger. Would it be practical? Would it be in line with the core values, and principles of our job? That's a gray area. Would it help us do our job? No. We cannot save lives if we ourselves become patients because someone took us for a cop and opened fire. EMS personal put their lives on the line for someone else. When I walk onto a scene, my life doesn't matter. The only concern I have is the patient.

    Sorry if it doesn't make much sense, and having a banter. I know a lot of you vet's have your reasons, and call me what you will. But We don't need to draw attention to ourselves. We don't operate in a warzone or in combat, we don't need to carry a sidearm. We're trained to save lives, and to sometimes put our lives on the line to help someone else.

    -DrakeZ07
    All though admirable ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?! It is "NOT" your duty to put yourself into harms way and there is not a jury in the world that would convict you of anything if you did not help the victim with the shooter not secured by LEO's. If you saw someone shot and the shooter was still there you would really try to negotiate that you want to help and please do not shoot me I am just an EMT (Please do not ever do this trust me the shooter does not give a s**t about you). If the shooter shot the victim what makes you think that they would let you anywhere near them. If they want the victim to live they would not have shot them to begin with.

    Yes we are there to save lifes not take them, but if some idiot decides my life isn't worth it I want to protect myself. Again carrying a firearm is not to replace the police from securing a scene that could potentially be unsafe. Sit in your rig let them come and then do your thing. The firearm is there to protect you for the time(s) when a routine call (although in real life no calls are routine) is anything but.

    Not to long ago ambulance dispatched for a motor vehicle accident in New York. Ambulance got on scene began to approach vehicle driver of crash began shooting at them. These are the types of calls that an EMT needs to be carrying a firearm because these types of calls are the ones that take you completely by surprise.

    Be Safe!!!
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  12. #12
    Regular Member DrakeZ07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
    All though admirable ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?! It is "NOT" your duty to put yourself into harms way and there is not a jury in the world that would convict you of anything if you did not help the victim with the shooter not secured by LEO's. If you saw someone shot and the shooter was still there you would really try to negotiate that you want to help and please do not shoot me I am just an EMT (Please do not ever do this trust me the shooter does not give a s**t about you). If the shooter shot the victim what makes you think that they would let you anywhere near them. If they want the victim to live they would not have shot them to begin with.

    Yes we are there to save lifes not take them, but if some idiot decides my life isn't worth it I want to protect myself. Again carrying a firearm is not to replace the police from securing a scene that could potentially be unsafe. Sit in your rig let them come and then do your thing. The firearm is there to protect you for the time(s) when a routine call (although in real life no calls are routine) is anything but.

    Not to long ago ambulance dispatched for a motor vehicle accident in New York. Ambulance got on scene began to approach vehicle driver of crash began shooting at them. These are the types of calls that an EMT needs to be carrying a firearm because these types of calls are the ones that take you completely by surprise.

    Be Safe!!!
    I was taught, and educated by my instructors back when I was studying to become a Basic, that EMT's are peace keepers, we put our life on the line for our patients. My lead instructor, a Paramedic of retirement age, drilled into us the principles of Duty to act. The Legal implications of failing to act quickly and with haste. Call me crazy, but I'd do my damnedest to help a patient, even if it meant I would not survive. It doesn't matter to me if a jury wouldn't convict me for patient abandonment, and unethical proceedures. No matter where I go for my refresher course, each instructor makes it a point that we are legally bound to aid no matter the danger to ourselves. LEO's don't have to respond to 911, but just because they don't have to, doesn't mean we should follow their lead. My co-workers, and Partners share you're ideal, that's fine and good, more power to them. But I live to set an example that we, and those in all levels of the EMT spectrum. Do not use a firearm's show of force or deterrence. Yes, I know a hostile will target us, just as much as someone else. But we're not only healers, and saviors, but we're also diplomats.

    When I was doing my clinical's, what seems like so long ago, I watched a Basic from my assigned unit talk a wacko out of shooting himself, and the Basic on scene, and turn himself into LEO's when they finally arrived. Giving myself, and another basic enough time to treat the victim, while he posed as a distraction. Ultimately saving her life.

    Now if he would have had a firearm, the scene may have gone better, and the threat could have been ended quickly... OR! The wacko could have taken us out just as we pulled up on scene, and got out to survey it, after he seen we had sidearms, thinking us to be a rouse, and a trap.

    I'm sorry, you're more than welcome to lobby for an OPTION to carry. My co-workers are more than welcome to use that option. But it's my unit, my bus, and I'd rather get fired for telling a vollie, or another basic to stay out of it while armed, than to put anyone other than myself at any greater additional risk than what is already expected of us.

    I Don't mean to point fingers, or flame-bait or anything. It's just my honest to God's opinion that we use Words, and a calming attitude to attend to our duties, not firearms. Save that for when you're off-duty, or when you're on call.
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    Regular Member Jack House's Avatar
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    Once again, why do you assume open carry is the only method of carry possible? Could you not conceal carry? The point of concealed carry is that only you know you have a weapon, no one else. Which completely negates your concerns.
    Last edited by Jack House; 10-30-2011 at 03:38 AM.

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    Regular Member Jay's Avatar
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    OMG.... I really wish you the best of luck with approaching a shooter without police because you think something you saw one EMT do back when you were doing your clinicals was the correct thing. That was absolutely the stupidest thing to do, and just because it worked out for him he is 100% in the minority for having survived it.

    If you took EMT class like you say have. What are the two things that get drilled into your head before anything else? "Scene Safety" and "BSI"

    Quote Originally Posted by DrakeZ07 View Post
    But it's my unit, my bus, and I'd rather get fired for telling a vollie, or another basic to stay out of it while armed, than to put anyone other than myself at any greater additional risk than what is already expected of us.
    But you are okay with making your crew who could be a brand EMT in harms ways, because you believe you have some moral obligation to treat someone. Even though there is a 9 out of 10 chance you are going to be shot for it? Who are you to determine what your crews life is worth?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrakeZ07 View Post
    My lead instructor, a Paramedic of retirement age, drilled into us the principles of Duty to act. The Legal implications of failing to act quickly and with haste. Call me crazy, but I'd do my damnedest to help a patient, even if it meant I would not survive.
    I have been an instructor for over eight years there is "NO" duty to act if you knowingly or have good reasonable suspicion to believe that a scene is unsafe to enter. "Your dispatcher telling you before you arrive on scene there is a shooting" is a pretty good reason. "Scene Safety" trumps all patient care. Now I have no idea what standard KY teaches to, but for the majority of the country that uses the National Registry Curriculum this holds true.

    Also like Jack House keeps stating what is wrong with conceal carry??
    Last edited by Jay; 10-30-2011 at 08:44 AM.
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    Regular Member SovereignAxe's Avatar
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    I see one problem with EMS carrying, and it has nothing to do with retention-a good holster solves that problem.

    The problem I see is that most hospitals are, at least in the state of TN, posted no firearms. In TN those signs carry the weight of law, so unless they could get some sort of special permission like hospital security and police officers get, they'd have to lock their gun up in the ambulance every time they transport a patient to and from the hospital. That normally wouldn't be a big deal, but if it became known that most EMTs were carrying, we'd have unlocked, running ambulances with guns in them. Because at our hospital the ambulances are usually left out with the engine running, unattended, while the EMTs transport the patient.

    They'd either have to change their SOP on transport or hope nobody sees an ambulance as a nice target for gun theft.
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    Regular Member Jack House's Avatar
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    If there was a law allowing EMTs to carry(as is mostly likely what it would take for EMTs to be allowed to carry) then I'm fairly sure that they would be given exemption to posting laws and prohibited places, much like the police.

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    Regular Member Jay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SovereignAxe View Post
    I see one problem with EMS carrying, and it has nothing to do with retention-a good holster solves that problem.

    The problem I see is that most hospitals are, at least in the state of TN, posted no firearms. In TN those signs carry the weight of law, so unless they could get some sort of special permission like hospital security and police officers get, they'd have to lock their gun up in the ambulance every time they transport a patient to and from the hospital. That normally wouldn't be a big deal, but if it became known that most EMTs were carrying, we'd have unlocked, running ambulances with guns in them. Because at our hospital the ambulances are usually left out with the engine running, unattended, while the EMTs transport the patient.

    They'd either have to change their SOP on transport or hope nobody sees an ambulance as a nice target for gun theft.
    I am not saying that EMS should just take it upon themselves to start carrying there would need to be some type of regulation from your local State Office of Emergency Medical Services Regulations. guidelines, and proper training. If your state puts a regulation or legislation in place a sign in a hospital would be a moot point.

    When you all leave your ambulances running unlocked at the ER never mind about handguns. What do you do with your controlled narcotics??
    "Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again"

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    I don't normally post down here and I hate posting about EMT anything...anywhere, but I think you all are barking up the wrong tree. At least in Virginia.

    Should EMT's carry? Well yeah, if they want. Everyone should!

    Instead of looking at it the way you are, go to the General Assembly and have yourself exempted from the Concealment laws just like Cops, or Mailmen or God forbid, the Harbormaster in Hopewell.

    Include in that exemption, immunity from the "No Guns" zones and mandatory allowance by your employer.

    Then carry or not as you wish.

    Drake, if you're serious and not blowing smoke, I hope you don't get your head blown off because you're one of the very few...good ones.

  19. #19
    Regular Member Jay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    I don't normally post down here and I hate posting about EMT anything...anywhere, but I think you all are barking up the wrong tree. At least in Virginia.

    Should EMT's carry? Well yeah, if they want. Everyone should!

    Instead of looking at it the way you are, go to the General Assembly and have yourself exempted from the Concealment laws just like Cops, or Mailmen or God forbid, the Harbormaster in Hopewell.

    Include in that exemption, immunity from the "No Guns" zones and mandatory allowance by your employer.

    Then carry or not as you wish.

    Drake, if you're serious and not blowing smoke, I hope you don't get your head blown off because you're one of the very few...good ones.
    +1
    "Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again"

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