Have you taken defensive lessons for on-the-job protection? If so, why?

The JEMS.com article "Training EMS for Violent Encounters" discusses defensive techniques in violent situations. Have you ever encountered a situation in the field that led you to consider learning some form of defensive training (i.e. karate, Tae Kwando, etc.)? Did you follow through and complete or continue in your training?

Tags: arts, defense, defensive, martial, safety, scene, self, techniques, training

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Also be sure to read "Survive Your Next Shift" from July JEMS for more on survival tactics.
I"m looking at martial arts as we speak, mainly of off duty safety. On shift, if attacked, the gloves are off until they are face down and restrained (Unless I can make a safe exit before that needs to happen).

The number of psycho young drunk nad drug affected males full of testosterone and not a neurone to be seen who think king hitting someone is a form of sport makes me worried though that Ambos are next.
Our department provides defensive tactics classes to all cadets during the academy taught by APD academy instructors that include grappling techniques, ground fighting, combating patients on stretchers, in the open, even applying defensive tactics in the back of a moving ambulance (driving around a bumpy windy corporate private drive near the academy) during the program. We also have physical and chemical restraint protocols typical of many services for once the assailant is a patient again. I think anytime you put someone in a uniform of any type on the streets and dont provide them self defense training you are doing them a disservice.
Oregon developed a responder safety program entitled "Street SMARTT" (Scene Management And Response Tactics Training) a few years ago in response to rural agencies requesting permission from the EMS Office to carry weapons. The office response to ambulance crew carrying weapons was, basically, "No, not now, not ever!" This position was reiterated within the past 60 days by the EMS Office. A Force Continuum was included in the training. I will look through some old files to try to find it; if so, I will post it.

The program was presented several times throughout the state; unfortunately, the members of the development team moved to other responsibilities or left the field, and the program lost inertia and died. Part of the loss of inertia loss was a lukewarm reception from the EMS community.
Hi Jen,

Defense tactics from Karate or TKD will mostly be ineffective. If you are interested you will want jiu-jitsu as you learn to use your whole body vs one joint as well as chokes. It's good for ground fighting and you do not have to be overly strong. Muay Thai's focus on knees & elbows is again good for close combat striking. And Krav Maga is used by Israeli special forces and is solid for close combat BUT they tactics are ruthless and I think the EMS goal is to subdue or escape, not maim. If anyone is interested in Colorado Springs, EMS, Police, Fire & Military get 15% dues discount at www.PikesPeakCombatSports.com. Just bring your ID and tell them Joe sent you. Good Luck & Stay Safe.
I appreciate the information Joe has provided regarding the different styles of self-defense and martial arts. I used to train in tae kwon do and hapkido and think it is only effective if you are very well trained and dedicated.

Jerry, it's too bad your department's Street SMARTT program wasn't well received but it sounds like Joshua's is pretty successful. Does anyone else work/volunteer for an organization with a successful self-defense program?
Great question Jen!
While I agree that training in martial arts (in whatever style you choose) can be beneficial... martial arts is not directed for specifically EMS. I currently study a filipino martial art and if I used some of my techniques on my patients... that would be a bad day. There is so much more to self defense than the physical aspect of it. How about recognizing an unsafe scene, being aware of your surroundings, etc. I currently teach Defense Tactics for EMS. I believe that sending our EMTs and medics out in the field without defense training is, and has proved to be, dangerous.

"Defensive Tactics for EMS, ( DT4EMS™ ) is for Pre-hospital Emergency Medical Service Providers and Hospital Emergency Room Providers (EMS Providers) and was created by EMS Providers. It is a training and response program that teaches EMS Providers to prevent, avoid and escape an assault. Our DT4EMS™ courses provide training in Verbal Skills, Assault Response Levels, Legal, Moral and Ethical Self-Defense as well as documentation training to provide protection after any use of force. It is important for EMS providers to receive training in self-defense to keep them from reverting to caveman style techniques in a violent encounter that could result in civil and/or criminal liability."

Check out www.dt4ems.net for more information! We have instructors located throughout the nation.
I've had to put afew patients in joint locks to protect myself and my crew, I definatly think that EMTs should be trained in basic self defence. Scene safety is as much about you being able to keep yourself safe as it is about the scene looking safe. We all know things can change pretty fast so we need to train and be ready for the day when we find ourselves in an unsafe scene, sooner or later it will happen.
I disgree with defensive training. We signed on to help people. We come in many sizes and degrees of physical fitness. I agree with some form of non-lethal protection to aide EMS workers from serious physical injury/death. It is a felony to assualt or intefere with EMS workers , therfore they should be able to depoly a system of defense that is sufficient to immobilize attackers whatever their motive or state. I propose Tazer type technologies, safety is high vs threat, and they work. Often just the threat of use backs off would be aggressers. It takes some time to become proficient in Martial arts and even then, street fights are way different in terms of fighting. A person on drugs an overpower 5 persons...the EMS worker could be fatally injured in such altercation in seconds. I do not think EMS workers are law enforcement personal and unfortunatelly Law enforcement is not always there to protect us. Furthermore, and only as an observation, non FIRE EMS personal, for the sake of arguement, are not in the state of physical conditioning of an average firefighter. Firefighters are in above average physical conditioning mandated by their jobs and training, they also tend to have crews of more than 3, with a few exceptions, giving them more manpower to handle unruly individuals better. During ambulance response, EMS crews are strained, often with just 2 persons available to handle threats, especially in rural areas. Why risk serious personal injury/death? Lord knows the pay isn't there for such risks. I really believe that the time has come to equip our noble EMS responders with a tool or more to protect themeselves/and patients in the event of hostile situations. Am I alone here? Do others concur??
Keven, I agree with you for the most part and some sort of less lethal device would be great but its not going to happen. Look at tactical EMS, how many of us that work right up there with SWAT are armed at all? They definatly aren't going to arm a normal ambulance medic. We did sign up to help people, but at the same time we didn't sign on to get hurt. There is no reason why EMTs and Paramedics can't be in good shape, really they should be just to be able to avoid injury when lifting a patient. Thats a whole different issue that warrents another discussion. We need to be able to defend ourselves, unfortunatly US EMS being what it is(I could write a book with all the crap I dissagree with in our system so I won't get into it) if we end up in a "fight" we're likely to loose our jobs and cost our departments a pretty penny at the same time. We need to be trained to defend ourselves, but we also must realize the results of our actions.
Bryce, I agree with you. Kevin, I can see your point. I am a tactical medic as well and at this point in time, we are unarmed and I don't see us becoming armed (with anything) in the near future. As much as I hate to admit it, Kevin you are probably right about the physical condition of non Fire EMS folk (that is a whole topic in itself). However, I agree with Bryce, I don't see us obtaining Tazers or anything like that in the near future. If this is the case, why not prepare EMS the best way possible? Is it fair to not train EMS because we are waiting for tazers, etc? Self Defense is not pretty, it is dirty and ugly, but it gets the job done. Yes, martial arts can and does take years to become proficient but there are some basic tactics that can be used.

-Jen
www.dt4ems.net
Jen -

Why would it be a bad day? I studied Kali-Silat for years and in my opinion the Filipino arts are the most versatile in the world. As you know, it's a weapons based art with empty hand applications and it works across all ranges of combat. It concentrates on angle of attack, so it doesn't matter if you're being attacked with empty hands or a weapon, and the flow-based drills increase the likelihood that you'll be able to pull off the techniques in a real-life situation. The trapping and the grappling aspects are ideal for close quarters, and there's nothing that says you have to maim anyone unless it's absolutely necessary (doubtful for the typical combative EMS patient but anything's possible). There's value in cross training, and BJJ certainly adds value for ground fighting (God forbid you find yourself on the ground) and stand-up arts like western boxing and Muay Thai make you a well rounded martial artist, but if I had to pick one that offers something for virtually any situation, I would pick Kali-Silat hands down. As far as martial arts being specifically directed toward EMS, does it really matter other than for marketing purposes? Just be reasonable and prudent with the understanding that your life comes first.

Tom

Jen said:
Great question Jen!
While I agree that training in martial arts (in whatever style you choose) can be beneficial... martial arts is not directed for specifically EMS. I currently study a filipino martial art and if I used some of my techniques on my patients... that would be a bad day. There is so much more to self defense than the physical aspect of it. How about recognizing an unsafe scene, being aware of your surroundings, etc. I currently teach Defense Tactics for EMS. I believe that sending our EMTs and medics out in the field without defense training is, and has proved to be, dangerous. "Defensive Tactics for EMS, ( DT4EMS™ ) is for Pre-hospital Emergency Medical Service Providers and Hospital Emergency Room Providers (EMS Providers) and was created by EMS Providers. It is a training and response program that teaches EMS Providers to prevent, avoid and escape an assault. Our DT4EMS™ courses provide training in Verbal Skills, Assault Response Levels, Legal, Moral and Ethical Self-Defense as well as documentation training to provide protection after any use of force. It is important for EMS providers to receive training in self-defense to keep them from reverting to caveman style techniques in a violent encounter that could result in civil and/or criminal liability."
Check out www.dt4ems.net for more information! We have instructors located throughout the nation.

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