Violence against first responders continues is a constant threat these days. It is important to continually size up your response policies and collaborate with local law enforcement to make sure that your policies and procedures are effective and not outdated.
A Growing Danger
In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that over 2,600 EMS responders received hospital treatment due to injuries sustained as a result of work-related violence. Threats to EMS workers who respond to emergency medical calls can arise from patients, family and friends of the patient, and even bystanders. A recent article published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine revealed key findings regarding investigations into injuries to paramedics and emergency medical technicians from violence initiated by patients.
Key Research Findings
The research article focused on EMS workers employed by large, urban fire departments had a number of important takeaways. These include:
- Gender is not a factor in who is assaulted.
- An EMS worker is more likely to be the recipient of patient-initiated violence than a firefighter.
- Overall, there is a dire need to improve the knowledge required to prevent attacks against EMS workers. A free training course can be found in this National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health course.
- Posting signage such as “It is a felony to assault a first responder” on the back of first responder vehicles has been found to deter such attacks.
- There is a need to implement and utilize an electronic system that alerts dispatchers that previous attacks have occurred in the area.
The full research article can be found on the National Institute of Health’s website here.