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Discussion Starter #1
Well, maybe not changing the world, but at least my little piece of it...

Here's the deal. I'm a paramedic in Central Arkansas (Little Rock and surrounding area). We are called to some pretty damned rough areas of town at times and LEO are not always immediately available. Several times, all that's come between our crew and getting knifed by some fool who wants to finish the job he started on our patient is my partner and I grabbing our maglites.

In Arkansas it is currently against Dept of Health rules and regs to carry a firearm on any ambulance except one run specifically by the police department. I've noticed that several members of the forums are paramedics elsewhere and am just wondering if they have any advice on how to get these rules changed. Anyone want to give me some compelling reasons to include in my argument? I figure if they let us CCW, at least we can keep them alive long enough to get to the hospital after we shoot them...that's more than the cops can say :blink:

--dwpa
 

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When I was a volunteer firefighter we couldn't approach a suspected crime/ assault scene until the sherrif's dept indicated the scene was secure.

If your agency doesn't ahve the same policy they're putting you at risk. If the situation you describe above has really happened, get a lawyer and sue.

You either have to have a secure scene or the means to protect yourself.
 

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Jim (aka Firefighter4884) is, I believe, in your same situation. I don't understand why they would send you guys in unarmed knowing there's always a chance a second unit would have to be sent in to rescue YOU! It's politics at it's finest, everybody wants the warm fuzzy "'Can't we all just get along?' world" - the short answer in "No, but those of us who are prepared have a better chance of surviving in it!" Good luck trying to change those policies.
Jack
 

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No ambulance or fire crew around here will go into a dangerous scene (assault or weapon involved type incident) until LE is on scene and has called them in. Medics can't help the injured guy if they are busy defending themselves.
 

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I am a reasonable person just like the majority here - I follow laws, rules, and regulations (LR&R) that our society uses to guide us when we have question.

There are also rules of law that I also abide by - these can be called God's Law, natural law, etc. In my opinion people in Arkansas would be breaking all LR&R if they carried a firearm with the *intent of harming others* while serving on an emergency platform.

If you carried for the sole purpouse of protecting yourself or others I doubt God would be mad at you. Keep safe.
 

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I've sat in my unit several blocks from the scene because I was responding to a gun shot victim, and the police hadn't marked on scene. If it were me, and I was forced to go into those types of situations, I would carry if I had a CCW (no CCW, then I would find another job). If the time comes that you should have to defend yourself, the worst thing that they can do is fire you. Personally, I prefer that to death. Of course, I also went on to school so that my patients now come to me.
 

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Does that mean LEO sometimes put securing evidence before saving life? If so, are the priorities right?

How long might EMS have to wait before LEO lets them in, worst case, while some guy bleeds out?

C
 

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dwpa...

I am up here in Pope County (PCSO)and I cant tell you how many times I have been called to "secure" a scene before the EMT's would enter in.

I doubt that they will let you carry as an EMT in your "ambulance" or workplace, but I'll be the first to agree that anyone that works in the Little Rock area definatley needs it.

You can however, REFUSE to admininster aid if you feel that your life is in danger or even if the circumstances are questionable. Just get on the radio and request that the Police secure the area first. Sit a block or two away and wait till they get there.

Is pretty much standard procedure where gun or knives are involved around here.

How long might EMS have to wait before LEO lets them in, worst case, while some guy bleeds out?
As long as it takes. Hopefully it some gangbanger bleeding our rather than an innocent. There is no future in showing up in the middle of a gun battle...escpecially without a gun.

Its enough of a problem in the big citys that some EMTS are armed.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the words of encouragment. The whole point, as I see it, is to not have to withhold medical attention from some innocent because some BG doesn't want to leave the scene. They deserve better than bleeding to death with an ambulance 1 block away while PD is tied up on the other side of the county. Another scenario that has happened several times is being told by dispatch that the scene is secure and when you get there LE comes rolling in about 15 minutes later. Thankfully when that has happened so far there has been no violence, but it definitely has the potential to turn deadly in a hurry. Anybody got any suggestions on what to say to a politician to get them on board with EMTs carrying? Or even better, anybody know any pro-gun legislators in AR that might be approached concerning this? We had an incident down here about 2 weeks ago and I'm beginning to contemplate carrying regardless, but the penalty for getting caught is revokation of your paramedic certification...I'm not looking forward to ending my whole career if it can be helped.

--dwpa
 

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Actually, the Governor is fairly progun.

Send him a letter with your concerns. It just might be a start in the right direction...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the advice, HotGuns. I just finished sending him an email from his website outlining my concerns...now I just have to wait and see if he bothers to respond :rolleyes:

--dwpa
 

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I really doubt that you are going to get them to allow you to carry a gun with you. I believe, as distasteful as it is, HotGuns is right on point. Don't enter and put your own life at risk until the scene is secure. I would shift my focus from "what can I do to get them to alow me to carry" to "what can I get them to do to insure my safety" and just arm myself when I get off shift. The only way you could probably change them enough to allow EMTs to carry would probably be through a large association or union....
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You're probably right, Bumper, but I feel like I have to at least try...I just can't make myself accept the status quo without trying to change it. As far as focusing on making them ensure my safety, that's about half as likely as getting them to let me carry...they just don't have the manpower to guarantee it 100% of the time...I may just go with a mousegun in a pocket holster. Better to be tried by 12 than carried by 6 and all that...

--dwpa
 

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dwpa said:
Well, maybe not changing the world, but at least my little piece of it...

Here's the deal. I'm a paramedic in Central Arkansas (Little Rock and surrounding area). We are called to some pretty damned rough areas of town at times and LEO are not always immediately available. Several times, all that's come between our crew and getting knifed by some fool who wants to finish the job he started on our patient is my partner and I grabbing our maglites.

In Arkansas it is currently against Dept of Health rules and regs to carry a firearm on any ambulance except one run specifically by the police department. I've noticed that several members of the forums are paramedics elsewhere and am just wondering if they have any advice on how to get these rules changed. Anyone want to give me some compelling reasons to include in my argument? I figure if they let us CCW, at least we can keep them alive long enough to get to the hospital after we shoot them...that's more than the cops can say :blink:

--dwpa
Here come my $0.02. First, some background. I was a paramedic in a high volume surburban service in Maryland, about 30 miles north of DC for over 15 years. CCW not an issue, since MD doesn't really issue them. Department policy was no firearms on a unit unless active duty LEO.

As far as violence calls, our policy was to stage until LE cleared us in, and every such call got a manpower piece (Engine, Squad or Truck) in addition to the EMS assignment.

Of course, the dispatcher doesn't always know what is going on on the scene, since the caller doesn't always provide the full details....

I spent quite a bit of my career on a Paramedic Chase Car or as a command officer - so I was sometimes a one-man band on the scene until the rest of the party showed up. We had some bad areas, and gang activity including the charming MS-13 folks.

Personally, I would not have wanted to carry a firearm on the EMS unit. And the reason why not comes down to retention. When critical care interventions are being performed, the provider just cannot devote the mental resources to situational awareness and weapon retention that are needed. If you are kneeling down securing an airway, you cannot focus on your weapon and the laryngoscope at the same time.

Similarly, in the close confines of the back of an EMS unit you will be placing your firearm in easy reach of the patient during routine patient case, as you lean across to get toys and supplies out of the cabinets, deposit sharps, etc.

I submit that the prudent plan here is stage, wait for LE, and let them carry the hardware.

Hopefully, your service has emergency communications protocols with a distress code that brings lots of police help without the dispatcher asking you any questions. If not, consider that the first thing you need to lobby for.

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I understand what you're saying about the retention issue and close quarters in the patient compartment. But my rebuttal to that is that I'm not asking for LEO style duty belt carry. I had more of an ankle holster/IWB tuckable/smartcarry idea. That solves both issues that you bring up. In a perfect EMS world LE would be on scene before we got there and dispatch would know exactly what is going on, but the reality (at least where I work) is that LE is oftens times completely unavailable due to being involved in other calls or, if available, literally 15 minutes away due to where our service area is located compared to more populous areas. We have orange "emergency" buttons on our radios, but all that does is let our dispatcher know we need a LE on a scene that should already have one there. I guess the point I'm trying to get across with this rambling post is that I'm not pushing to be a wannabe LE on an ambulance, I just feel like the Dept. of Health is infringing needlessly on our inherent right to protect ourselves. I see no reason why, if we have already met the requirements for concealed carry, we should be required to be unarmed during the course of our inarguably dangerous job.

--dwpa
 

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DWPA,

While I agree that as an EMT, or a Paramedic, you're almost definately going to get put into a situation that you don't want to be. Like everyone else has said so far, the chances of allowing medical personnel on an ambulance carry a firearm is extremely rare.

I live in NJ, and while I admit that we're extremely backward as far as firearms laws go, it's not even legal for me to carry a pocket knife while I'm working as an EMT, and I can make a darn good case for carrying one (I use my knife almost more then any other tool, except the leatherman, even if it's not actually for patient care...).

It comes down to understanding your goal, and mission. Your job is caring for the sick or injured patient, not subduing or restraining individuals that want to do you harm. PD's job is to make sure that we stay safe. Unfortunately, that means that there are going to be days where the ambulance has to stage away and wait for an officer, or two, or three to arrive on location before you proceed in.

Maybe an alternative solution is lobbying for added police patrols, so that units are not so far away, and possibly having one unit assigned to respond to all ambulance runs?

--Jim

--Just an EMT with a few opinions of his own...
 

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Bottom line is that your first duty is to yourself and your crew. Dead heros don't save lives.
 

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Squawker said:
Bottom line is that your first duty is to yourself and your crew. Dead heros don't save lives.
I like that
 

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dwpa said:
Well, maybe not changing the world, but at least my little piece of it...

Here's the deal. I'm a paramedic in Central Arkansas (Little Rock and surrounding area). We are called to some pretty damned rough areas of town at times and LEO are not always immediately available. Several times, all that's come between our crew and getting knifed by some fool who wants to finish the job he started on our patient is my partner and I grabbing our maglites.

In Arkansas it is currently against Dept of Health rules and regs to carry a firearm on any ambulance except one run specifically by the police department. I've noticed that several members of the forums are paramedics elsewhere and am just wondering if they have any advice on how to get these rules changed. Anyone want to give me some compelling reasons to include in my argument? I figure if they let us CCW, at least we can keep them alive long enough to get to the hospital after we shoot them...that's more than the cops can say :blink:

--dwpa
My EMT training STRESSED that the first step was to ask "is the scene safe", moving into a scene where you are likely to be injured only increases the risks that the patient will bleed to death while waiting for your buddies to treat your injuries. Your dedication and valor are to be commended but let the police do their jobs and you focus on yours. Good luck and thanks.
 
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