Paramedic carrying while on duty?

This is a discussion on Paramedic carrying while on duty? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Im sure this as been brought up here before but I was just wondering what some peoples thoughts are. I happen to be a paramedic ...

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Thread: Paramedic carrying while on duty?

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    Member Array BigE410's Avatar
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    Paramedic carrying while on duty?

    Im sure this as been brought up here before but I was just wondering what some peoples thoughts are. I happen to be a paramedic here in PA. I know for a fact that my employer has a policy against carrying while on duty. I believe (Though I couldnt find it anywhere) that PA also has some sort of law in place saying EMS providers can not carry while on duty. I have a hard time swollowing this. I understand if I feel its that big of a deal I can find another job doing something else. I also want to say I feel safe 99% of the time while working. Only a time or two did I have a "close call" so to speak, and not that it was even a close call. It just had potential to go really really bad. I guess Im curious what others think on this subject. I know some providers said dispite what the law may say or what their employers say they'll carry anyway, and risk it.

    The only reason Id be intrestered in carrying while on duty is on the very rare occasion I actually have a gun or some other lethal weapon pointed at me and feel the very real threat of dyin. Id like to have options if that makes sense.
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    There is no clear cut answer for you. If in fact PA does have a statute that forbids EMS personnel from carrying while on duty, then no, I do not recommend breaking the law. If however it is only a matter of company policy, in that case, you need to decide how important your job is to you and what your word is worth. You agreed to work for a company with this policy in place and agreed to abide by their policies. To now break that policy is going back on your word.
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    I also stronly suggest understanding the law, and obeying it... as well as the companies rules. Having said that... My personal opinion is that EMS should have the option to arm themselves discretely. I'm talking about Medics, and EMT's answering calls for the general public. In my experience as a police officer I can recall many times where the EMS crew's responded to dangerous call's, or to dangerous locations and arrived before the police. When this happened they didnt stop and wait for the police. They did what they do... save live, and assist people who are sick or injured. Emergency medical personal have every right to protect themselves. They deserve better. Now... an ambulance crew who transfer paitents from hospital to hospital, or pick up people for a doctors appointment... not so much.
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    I personally know two paramedics and one EMT who were shot while on the job in KC. Two were killed. Although the two who were killed stemmed from a domestic involving an ex-spouse, it happened while on duty in their ambulance.

    The other one was while responding on a call to a reported house fire. Ended in a big firefight with police and the house exploding from a stockpile of munitions. Only reason the medic lived was the heroic efforts of KC firefighters who drug her to safety while under heavy gunfire. She was shot in the heart.

    Paramedic Wounded By Sniper Is Fully Recovered - Kansas City News Story - KMBC Kansas City


    Images of explosion and carnage at scene of shooting.


    Paramedic Shot by Sniper Back After Amazing Recovery

    Ambulance crew members shot dead in Kansas

    Two Metropolitan Ambulance Service Trust Medics Shot and Killed

    MAST Releases 911 Tapes From Paramedics' Murders

    While Mary Seymore was shot by a sniper who ambushed the first responders as they arrived on scene, having a weapon in that case likely would have been of no use (although, I would have been happy to have something to shoot back with if I were in a similar situation).

    But the two who were murdered in their ambulance at their station may have stood a chance if one of them had been armed. Especially since it stemmed from a domestic situation and at least one of them was probably aware of threats from the ex-spouse, or at least knew of their instability.

    In Missouri, there is no state law which prohibits crews from carrying weapons. I have verified this with the director of the State Bureau of EMS. However, most EMS services will have a policy which prohibits weapons on duty. I have worked for services in the rural area of the state where part time crew members were also LEO's and I know they have carried while on duty.

    It's kind of a don't ask don't tell situation with people I know who may or may not be carrying. I know if they are carrying with a ccw permit, they are not violating any state laws. The problem arises if you have to respond to federal building or other such place prohibited by federal law. What are you going to do with your gun then?
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    Senior Member Array stevem174's Avatar
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    I have heard thousands of times about "Scene safety." "Don't enter the scene until it's safe." That works very well in class, however in the real world the scene can change in a heartbeat.

    I have been dispatched more than once to a "medic alert alarm" only to find out it was really a burglar alarm.

    The common "unknown medical" which turns into a domestic dispute is always nice.

    And my all time favorite is "man down." You never know what you will find on that....maybe a passed out drunk or a shooting victim.

    Yeah, I am in favor of EMS carrying. I also think they should receive training to do it along with hand to hand self defense.
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    When I was younger I met a PA paramedic who had shot and killed an attacker while on duty. He had been fired, and got his job back from that employer. Can't speak for the law there now, this was in the mid 80's.

    Where I work now, I am never without something from Cold Steel, Benchmade, Microtech, Spyderco, Mantis, or Boker tucked about my person. Typically more than two. But in the long run, my mouth has saved me more times than any weapon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superhouse 15 View Post
    But in the long run, my mouth has saved me more times than any weapon.
    Roger that.
    -Bark'n
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    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

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    Member Array 1daddytobe's Avatar
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    As a Paramedic here in Texas, my Administrator allows anyone, that has obtained their CHL, to carry while on duty. The only requirement is to advise him first and then the appropriate supervisor. I, myself have responded to numerous calls in which I wish I had been carrying at that time.

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    We have had paramedics robed for the drugs they in the unit.
    Better 12 judging than 6 carrying

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    My department, actually the city, forbids any type of weapon on the job. We, as SOP, stage near the scene of a call on things like injuries due to fights, domestic disputes, suicide attempts.................. This doesn't mean there are not lots of imaginable scenarios where things can and do get hinky that are not covered by the above precautions. But hey, it's emergency service work. We know our safety isn't assured.

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    If it's illegal, do NOT do it.
    If it's a matter of employer regs, you make that situation.
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    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1daddytobe View Post
    As a Paramedic here in Texas, my Administrator allows anyone, that has obtained their CHL, to carry while on duty. The only requirement is to advise him first and then the appropriate supervisor. I, myself have responded to numerous calls in which I wish I had been carrying at that time.
    Are you hiring? Sorta kidding but my wife REALLY wants to move back to TX. Austin preferably but somewhere in state is better than traveling from VA.

    On topic: VA OEMS tried to quash carrying at the state level but caught so much flak they nullified the regulation. Of course about every employer and municipality forbids it but I think most vollie units "see no evil."
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

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    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    There should not be any laws that would prevent anyone from being able to protect themselves. It should be left to the individuals and the companies they work for.

    Michael
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    Member Array 1daddytobe's Avatar
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    We do need medics actually. As I know of currently we have 2 persons that carry while on duty and about to be 2 more. I for one do not trust our deputies here to clear a scene. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not justifying running in to a scene without a deputy just because I will carry. That gun is only there for those situations, although rare, when something bad does happen. In my opinion I do find it a responsibility to ask my work partner their thoughts on carrying on duty, but we all have families and are a family at work. Therefore I will protect myself first then others as need be if, and when that comes to pass.

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    I can tell you that in New Mexico and Nevada there are no laws preventing ems providers from carrying firearms. Both of the companies I worked for had a no weapons policy. My choice was to then wear body armor to work daily. At my second company the policy specifically stated no firearms, so I had a tazer I kept concealed. I figured if I needed it i could argue the symantics of the policy later.

    The question becomes how imporntant is your job vs your saftey and to what extent are you willing to trade one for the other.

    There are some considerations to think of when you are carrying as an ems provider. Remember we respond to locations that are prohibited from carrying in as civilians (jails, prisons, post office, etc...). How do you plan to secure your handgun in your unit (which my still be illegal) without your partner knowing. If your partner knows are they in a position to get in trouble as well? Will they keep their mouth shut? What if you have a different partner for a day?

    For many of those consideration I felt a tazer was more Apropriate for me than a handgun. Just my choice.

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