By Cornelius Frolik
For the Dayton Daily News
A debate is ramping up over whether to let EMTs and firefighters carry guns on the job.
Some emergency medical services workers say they now routinely face more violent patients and dangerous situations. But the prospect of armed EMTs worries critics who question whether it would improve their safety or lead to other problems.
Tim Holman, chief of German Twp. Fire and EMS in Clark County, said he is weighing the pros and cons to allow his paramedics and emergency medical technicians to carry concealed handguns on the job, because they encounter belligerent and unpredictable people, and police are not always immediately available to subdue or arrest troublemakers.
Holman in September 2011 hosted a forum at the EMS World Expo in Las Vegas called, “Is it Time to Arm our EMTs?” He said some EMS departments across the country are considering arming their crews, because the job is becoming more dangerous and there has been a string of violent and deadly attacks on medical responders.
“It is a hot topic, and I am trying to make it a hotter topic, because it is something that needs to be looked at because we cannot depend on law enforcement to protect us,” he said.
But critics said medical first-responders do not have the training to act as police officers, and learning how to avoid and escape violent situations would make EMS workers safer and make more sense that equipping them with lethal weapons.