Oh boy, another one of “those” posts. Well, not it isn’t. I’m not going to jump into the long lasting and ultimately pointless debate about EMS workers being armed. I’ll leave that to greater minds than mine. What I am going to talk about is the growing likelihood that EMS workers are going to run into patients who are legally armed. Nationwide more and more people are obtaining concealed carry permits and buying hand guns for self defense.
Among the fastest growing group of new gun owners is women, especially young women.
All of which means that there is an ever growing chance that one of your patients is going to be carrying a hand gun. Which means that EMS systems need to start thinking about how to deal with this type of situation. Here are some questions that you and your bosses should be asking.
1) Can you deny care to a patient merely because they are carrying a firearm?
2) If you decide that the patient needs to disarm, who become responsible for the safety and security of the firearm?
3) Does your local police agency have a policy in place for securing firearms that are NOT evidence in a crime?
4) What about the hospitals to which you transport? Hospitals, at least in my area, have no weapons policies. What they don’t seem to have is a policy to secure firearms that belong to patients. Since patients often don’t have time to secure their firearms, how do the hospitals handle this when a patient presents with a firearm?
5) Should “Do you have a firearm on you?” become part of your scene safety procedure?
I think that your answers to these questions might change depending on your own comfort level, local laws, system policies, and other variables.
So, what do you think? I look forward to your replies in the comments section.