Here is a thought. Either assign a police detail to every fire and/or EMT unit that responds to a call, or start allowing emergency responders to be certified to carry on duty.
FDNY EMS and NYPD cops are responding to emergency calls together in the Rockaways as a precaution after an anonymous threat was made against both agencies.
EMS crews have been ordered to check in at specific police precincts and FDNY EMS stations in the area. Before responding to any 911 call, the ambulances are assigned an NYPD escort and the two crews go out together, sources said.
According to the New York Daily News, this precautionary measure was taken after an anonymous gang threat against NYPD and EMS was flagged by the police department, sources said.
The threat may be linked to a fatal shooting that happened Friday night in Far Rockaway, sources said.
Two men were wounded in an exchange of bullets, one shot in the chest and legs and the other man shot in the head, according to the NYPD.
Sources close to the groups, said that EMS brought the first man to the nearest hospital per New York protocols. As his family and friends crowded around, a hospital staffer told EMS they should have brought the wounded man to a hospital with a trauma center — a comment that upset the already emotional family, sources said.
One of those distraught relatives or friends made a threatening remark that was overheard by an EMT, sources said, alarming the medic enough to spark a police investigation.
Over the weekend, projectiles were tossed at two different EMS ambulances responding to calls in the area where the two men were shot, sources said.
The NYPD picked up a likely threat of violence against members in uniform in online chatter and sent out an alert, the sources said.
“The NYPD routinely responds to radio calls for individuals requiring medical treatment,” Sgt. Mary O’Donnell, an NYPD spokeswoman, said Tuesday night. “In light of the threat, officers from the 101 Precinct have increased this response. There is a complaint report on file for making terroristic threats. No acts of violence have been reported in connection to the statement.”
An FDNY official said that “a broad, anonymous tip was received that pointed toward a threat against EMS, but the threat was nothing specific.”
The official couldn’t say how long EMS and NYPD would team together to respond to 911 calls in the Rockaways.
Oren Barzilay, head of the EMS union for EMTs and paramedics, said his members were going about their jobs as usual.
“Our members always to their best to save lives and treat people to their utmost ability while following all appropriate protocols,” he said.
Another group of emergency responders was attacked back in July. Unfortunately, these responders do not have guns, tasers or any other form of weaponry at their disposal for self-defense.
These responders were EMTs treating a patient who was psychotic
Police say two EMTs were attacked by a patient as their ambulance headed toward Mass General Hospital Wednesday afternoon. It happened around 4 p.m. on New Chardon Street near the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse.
A female EMT in the back of the ambulance was stabbed multiple times and suffered serious wounds.
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Boston EMS Chief James Hooley says the EMTs were transporting a psychiatric patient from East Boston to MGH when she allegedly became unruly and attacked.
“She did produce a weapon and she attacked one of our EMTs in the back,” Hooley said. “A 14-year veteran of the department.”
The suspect has been identified as 31-year-old Julie Tejeda. She allegedly stabbed the EMT several times then tried to keep her partner away after he pulled the ambulance over to help.
“The patient/suspect reportedly either had some sort of pepper spray or Mace on her person and proceeded to spray her partner,” Hooley said.
A Boston Police officer arrived at the scene and applied a tourniquet to the EMT’s leg. She was rushed to MGH and is recovering after surgery.
The second EMT, a 10-year veteran, was treated and released.
“These EMTs did not deserve this,” Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said. “Every day they go out and they help people, they save lives, they did not deserve to be attacked.”
Tejeda will be charged with assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and assault and battery on a public employee. She is expected to be arraigned Thursday morning.
This is hardly the first time an EMT, Paramedic or a fireman has been victim of a patient with a weapon.
A quick search shows the following attacks on emergency responders:
May 2019: Mitchell F. Lundgaard, a 14-year veteran of the Appleton Fire Department, was shot after paramedics responded to the downtown transit center at about 5:30 p.m. for a medical emergency. He is the fourth Appleton firefighter to die in the line of duty and the first since 1933.
June 2018: Long Beach police charged a 77-year-old retirement home resident with killing a veteran firefighter who responded to a predawn blaze at the facility.
Capt. Dave Rosa, 45, a 17-year department veteran, was fatally shot during a call about an explosion at the senior residential facility, Long Beach Fire Chief Mike Duree said. A second firefighter, Ernesto Torres, was also shot but was expected to make a full recovery, Duree said.
May 2017: A gunman opened fire on a paramedic while the paramedic was treating a civilian with a gunshot wound, Dallas police said. Shortly afterward, Dallas police officers, responding to an active shooter call around 11:30 a.m., arrived to discover an ambulance at the scene. The officers also found the paramedic and another person down in the street, Pughes said.
February 2009: An EMT was shot and killed by a patient he was trying to treat in New York. Mark B. Davis, 25, was serving as a volunteer EMT for the Cape Vincent Volunteer Fire Department and responded to the address just before midnight for a medical emergency.
The victim and two other EMTs were at the residence treating Christopher G. Burke, 25. Burke became agitated and retrieved a high-powered rifle from the bedroom of the residence, police said. As the EMTs were retreating from the residence, it is alleged that Burke fired two rounds, one at Davis, striking and killing him. The suspect then ran from the residence and was tackled and held down by another EMT who was also at the residence.
These are just a few of the incidents that have taken the life of an unarmed emergency responder; or threatened to. As we see more and more states creating stricter legislation as it pertains to use of force for officers, we can only imagine how much more difficult it is to perform their duties while guaranteeing their safety it must be for firemen, paramedics and EMTs.
While these brave individuals know the risks inherent in the duties they perform, there must be something that can be done to better safeguard the lives and well-being of our emergency personnel. Why must certain members of that community be thrust in harms way with little to no protection? We cannot simply sit by and wait for there to be more attacks and casualties before help is provided.
Our emergency response communities deserve to serve while being protected themselves.