To Wear or Not to Wear, THAT is the question!

Updated: Oct 1, 2019

Should EMS professionals be wearing bullet proof vests?



Is it time for EMS crews to start wearing?

We cannot ignore what is happening, we see it every time we look on the news or open up a social media app on our phone. Active shooters are on the rise and the possible cause for this happening is a whole other subject in and of itself, but we have to be real and admit that it is not IF it is going to happen again, but WHEN, and WHERE? But not only that, EMS crews are often the first ones on scene for emergencies requiring medical attention, and many of these calls can turn violent when you have little to no help. I have personally had a hypoglycemic diabetic patient pull a gun out from under his pillow as my partner and I walked in the room. Another coworker had a AK-47 pulled on him and put in his face after responding to a two-vehicle accident that the dispatcher failed to mention started as a domestic violence situation.


Needless to say, EMS personnel frequently get into situations that are extremely dangerous and, for most of us, we are at the mercy of our employer as to whether we are able to wear bullet proof vests, if we are lucky enough to work for a company that provides them, or if we have to fork out that money ourselves. In my case at the time, my EMS director had the absurd opinion that EMS did not need bullet proof vests, but instead suggested we all go through some deescalation training and he never pursued purchasing bullet proof vests any further.


Now, don't get me wrong, in NO way do I actually want to wear one all day long! I am afraid they will get heavy and be hot and just get in my way, but I feel like we NEED them and we need better protection. We are a long way from being able to carry a firearm on ambulances, even if you have a concealed handgun license, because you still have to jump through your company policies and procedures. So, since, for most of us, our only option is to be on the defensive side, rather than the offensive, bullet proof vests are our best options.


So now, if you have employer approval, but they are not willing to provide them, then you have the task of figuring out which ones will work best to stop which types of bullets, how much they weigh, how much they cost, etc. Well, lucky for you, I have found a company that explains all of this for us EMS dummies that don't know anything about them. You can see photos, watch videos, get explanations for the different level vests, and much more; and the pricing is quite reasonable, even on an EMS salary. I am quite impressed and I beg you to give them a look, you honestly can't afford not to because once you are in that violent situation, it is too late to wish you had one on.


Stay safe,


Tara


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