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.