We've just learned of an EMT in Jefferson County, New York, who has been shot and killed in the line of duty. We're also getting early news reports about a City of Rochester police officer who has been seriously wounded on duty.
There is a trend of violence towards responders of all uniforms...and yet we don't seem to take it seriously. We've been reporting on what seems to be a continual stream of attacks throughout 2008 and now into 2009. Yet, I have not seen nor heard of any training sessions or in-services being taught on the topic of scene safety. Why is this not a priority? I know, it can't happen here. (Sarcasm intended)
The fire service is full of scene size-up memory aids, COAL WAS WEALTH, WALACE WAS HOT, and others; none of them addressing personal safety. EMS is notable for teaching new EMT candidates to recite "BSI, SCENE SAFE!" upon entering any testing situation. Again, no translation to the actual assessment of a situation and personal safety.
Once upon a time a uniform, any uniform, would grant you respect and a certain level of protection in the community. EMS providers were looked at somewhat differently and could often move in and out of situations with little concern.
Times are changing. If we don't change NOW and start teaching our people to look at every scene for threats and start to size-up the people rather than the building we will invite more assaults and fatalities.
I'm going to challenge every responder to change they way they look at situations and consider all people a threat until proven otherwise. I'm also challenging instructors to begin cross-training with law enforcement on the topic of recognition of dangerous situations and self protective measures.
My commentary on this weeks Mitigation Journal podcast will be about the futility of BSI/SCENE SAFE/COAL WAS WEALTH.
Here are a few related entries from the archives:
Ready or Not (not even EMS) http://www.mitigationjournal.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=385325
Firefighter shot at fire scene http://www.mitigationjournal.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=362809
Rochester EMT saves Cop http://www.mitigationjournal.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=335844
Line of Duty Planning Series with Dan McGuire http://www.mitigationjournal.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=398987