Moving Injured Hostage. By bibiphoto

4 Reasons EMS Should Be Packing Heat.

What’s your opinion on this?

Weirdos are part of the job: Someone selling you your own supplies, running around naked with a tin foil hat, or stroking your cheek lovingly saying you remind him of his pet newt (yes that really happened). These people really make your night. But what happens when people turn dangerous?

The violence against first responders is on the rise. A man stabbed an EMT and stole his ambulance (1). Someone called in a fake heart attack and took 5 firefighter’s hostage (2). After getting out of prison for killing his grandmother with a hammer, William Spengler ambushed 4 firefighters and destroyed 7 houses (3). The list goes on.

Among all the obvious reasons tofu fartin’ fairies (as Larry the Cable Guy would say) don’t want you carrying a gun to protect yourself, I’ve heard it argued carrying a gun directly counters the mindset of healthcare workers. I beg to differ.

What is the mindset of a healthcare worker? Preservation of life. What happens when something threatens that life? We attack it. Whether it’s a pathogen, gunshot, or self-infliction we attack it with drugs, surgery, or counseling. If a maniac tries blowing off your paramedics head, to preserve that life, we must attack the threat.

So here are 4 reasons EMS should pack heat:

1. A Decline of Police

Nationwide budget cuts in public safety have decreased the ever needed police force (4). For EMS, this means wasting precious time for a scene to be deemed safe. The “are they coming?!” is becoming an increasingly popular question. In the future, lacking funds for both police and EMTs may result in a permanent fusion of the two.

2. Treating in Peace

The more at ease your EMT is, the better they can focus on the task at hand. Instead of constantly worrying about their complete lack protection, they are able to treat with some peace of mind.

3. Carrying Can Be Voluntary and Educated

Bethel Township, OH allows those who already hold a concealed weapons permit the ability to conceal on duty, if they wish (5). Going through this program also gives them training on when and how to use this type of force.

4. Just the Thought of Someone Else Carrying a Gun Deters Many from Their Evil Inclinations:

During WWII, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto said,You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass (6).” The man who held the firemen captive admitted, his knowledge of their lack of protection is what made them his target (5). The knowledge that EMS and Fire crews pack more than gauze in their pockets would have stopped that real quick.

(Editor’s Note: The views expressed above do not necessarily reflect the views of EMS Wire)

1) “Man Accused of Stabbing EMS Worker, Stealing Ambulance.” WSAZ News. April 11, 2012. Accessed June 12, 2016.

2) Botelho, Greg, and David Mattingly. “Police: Man Killed after Taking Firefighters Hostage in Suburban Atlanta.” CNN. April 11, 2013. Accessed June 12, 2016.

3) Freile, Victoria, and Doug Stanglin. “4 Firefighters Shot, 2 Killed at Webster, N.Y., Fire.” USA Today. December 24, 2012. Accessed June 12, 2016.

4) “COPS Office: Impact of Economic Downturn.” COPS: Community Oriented Policing Services. Accessed June 12, 2016.

5) Huff, Richard. “Ohio Medics Carrying Guns for Personal Protection.” Journal of Emergency Medical Services. May 30, 2013. Accessed June 12, 2016.

6) “Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.” Great Quotations of World War II. Accessed June 12, 2016.

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Tim Cheves
Born in Tucson, AZ, Tim received a B.S. degree in Physiology (Pre-Med) with a minor in Pre-law at the University of Arizona. Here, he co-founded two UA chapter medical outreach clubs, served as a pre-health ambassador, became an R&D researcher, competed on UA's triathlon team, received the “Physiology Wildcat Award” in 2012, and graduated with honors.

In addition to three separate associates degrees, Tim became a nationally certified EMT in 2008 and continues to use his certification to this day. His work experience spans from physical therapy and nursing tech to the ER, donor organ procurement, and Search and Rescue.
As a self proclaimed grease monkey and gym rat, Tim enters his self re-built cars into shows and competes in bodybuilding competitions for fun.

Tim has been an instructor for EMS University since 2014, works at the UA as a biosafety officer, and now sets his sights on becoming a Physician Assistant.


  1. I loved this article. Soo sooo true and many great examples of why this is so important as an EMT. Loved the insight and recignition to this issue.

    1. Right. That will just piss them off. Try stopping someone hopped up on drugs with your little pepper spray.

    2. Definitely useful…..but unfortunately not all that intimidating … If I’m a maniac like any of the examples given its not going to sway my intentions at all if someone is packing pepper spray.

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