In this EMS1.com column, Active Shooter Response: Are you physically ready?, I lay out what I believe may be some of the physical challenges related to EMS response. I definitely want you to defer to your local protocols and follow orders as issued by the incident command.
But I also believe that the EMS response, much like the law enforcement response, is evolving for active shooter incidents. Slowly but surely EMTs and Paramedics are letting go of the dream of a truly safe scene. It may take hours and hours for a scene to be declared safe from all real and perceived risks. Having EMS idle in the cold zone while injured adults and children perish from airway, ventilation, and hemorrhage that may be managed with BLS skills makes little sense.
The Cops are FIT
I am lucky to travel quite a bit and visit airports, convention centers, sports stadiums, and all sorts of places. I see lots of police officers. Increasingly the police officers I see look like they dedicate considerable time and energy to having the burst strength and speed their job might demand on a moments notice. A police officer doesn’t need to be able to cover a mile fast, but they do need to cover 1 to 20 feet with blazing speed. I am sure you can counter my anecdotes with your anecdotes of a chubby sloth in a ballistics vest, but I am not seeing them on my travels.
Peer Pressure is working in the Fire Service
I see change happening in the fire service. Increasingly I see firefighters that are fit, dedicated to a fitness program, and encouraging their peers to do the same. Peer pressure can be a force for good. As I wander around fire conferences I see more broad shoulders and barrel chests than I used to see five years ago. Firefighters, keep it up. We need you to be fit and strong. Keep encouraging your brothers and sisters. It’s working!
EMS … so many excuses
If only we had more time, got paid more, didn’t have to post, blah, blah, blah.
The point of my EMS1.com column is less about how EMS should respond to an active shooter and more about can our bodies do what our heart and mind tell us to do.
I know there are many Everyday EMS Athletes that can match the police officers and firefighters stride for stride and rep for rep on the weight bench. But I also know the cross section of EMS professionals I see at regional and national conferences likely lacks the strength or endurance of our peers in law enforcement and the fire service.
2013 … Make it Your Year
It’s pretty simple. The blogger, Dr. John M. recently said, “Eat less. Move more. Sleep like a Child.”
Build from there.