Should EMTís and firefighters carry guns on the job?

That’s certainly on of today’s hot topics as first responders continue to face increasing risks associated with performing our duties to an increasingly-violent society.

But would arming first responders improve their safety or lead to other, potentially serious issues?

From an article today in the Dayton (OH) Daily News:

On Sunday, an EMT in Fort Wayne, Ind., was injured after he was struck by bullet fragments when his ambulance was shot 17 times while transporting a stabbing victim, according to news reports.

In June, an ambulance that was responding to a call of a shooting in Houston was shot at least four times by the armed suspect.

In March 2011, a Long Island paramedic was responding to a car crash, when suddenly the motorist pulled out a gun and unloaded on first-responders. Police eventually killed the gunman, but medic crews had to hide behind an ambulance to avoid gunfire.

And there are countless unreported instances in which first responders are put into a situation where the scene is not always safe, or becomes unsafe in the blink of an eye.  Is it fair to ask us to face these potentially fatal scenarios with only our wits?

Some point to an era wherein we are increasingly targeted by vicious gangs, anti-government extremists, unpredictable criminals and intoxicated or infuriated people. Counting on law enforcement may leave us vulnerable to injury, and worse. Carrying a concealed weapon could give us the ability to protect ourselves against potentially fatal attacks.

Others are quick to remind us that police officers are specifically trained to try to bring suspects and attackers under control by using less-lethal force, and they only withdraw their guns as a last resort. So, unless armed first responders go through the same training as police officers, we will have only concealed firearms at our disposal for protection, which could result in deadly mistakes, and of course, increased liability for our employers.

And doesn’t it always come down to money? Whether the argument is who pays to arm us, or who pays the lawsuit settlements, Let’s never forge:t it’s always about the money.

How do you feel? Is it time we should start packing heat next to our halligan?

1 Comment

  • YES, EMT’s and Firefighters should carry weapons. Not only are they there to help you, they are subjected to the same elements as Police Officers. If Police Officers can protect them selves why can’t EMT’s or firefighters protect them selves.

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John Mitchell

Firefighter/Paramedic and a Lieutenant in suburban Chicago

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