I am really humbled to be a part of this safety movement to change the culture of EMS and Fire. Being a victim of violence on the job, rather than just bitch about it, I chose to stand up for what is right. As a cop if you touched me in an aggressive way, you paid the price. You got charged for it and everyone around supported that. As a medic when I was attacked, no one cared. So I got pissed off and decided to do something about it. Change happens when it is personal to you. The stories many have shared with me about them being a victim of violence only strengthened my resolve to change the culture of safety as we know it.
Those that know me know it is personal. This has become a passion, almost an obsession, why? Because almost every day a new story gets told to me, you say I have been your voice. Many of your stories are worse than my car-jacking. I have cried with you, got pissed off with you and have grown better-stronger because of you. We now have tremendous momentum, like I have never seen before in my 16 years of doing this.
So for those that I have not met yet….. It’s OK to press charges on a person that assaults you on the job. It is NOT just part of the job and there are laws that prove that. Yes, it can be a pain, to press charges but do it. If not for you, do it for those that follow us. Make it a better- safer career for all those we are training to take our place. For those that think that violence directed at EMS/Fire or the ED staff doesn’t exist…… put down your effin crack pipe, and here is a collective F-U. The stats are there, the stories are real…it’s ass-hats like you that keep people from coming forward and telling their story and keeps them continually victimized.
For the first 10 years I preached this message people laughed at me, they said there was no need to train staff for violent encounters. Well, now all kinds of studies and surveys have proven there IS a need and the violence we face is real. I have traveled all over the country and have never been in a station yet where there are not tons of anecdotal stories of assaulted staff- stabbings, punches, HIV /Hep B-C spitters, kicks etc., None of which would be accepted in any other profession, but some ass-bags have led you to believe it is just part of the job for us.
Many states have enacted laws stiffening the penalties for assaulting EMS/Fire and ED staff…..why? Because they recognize there is a problem. So if you have been, or know a co-worker that has been a victim of violence on the job, they have support. That support is growing. I promise you this, as long as I breathe, we will bring light to this subject and continue to pursue those who think this is a joke and it’s OK to assault us…… DT4EMS’ EVE is a safety movement, not just a class. So what are you gonna do? Don’t allow the victims of violence on the job continue to be victimized by forcing them to keep quiet. Nothing is important to you until it’s important to you. So when you or someone you care about becomes a victim because of something you did or failed to do….who is to blame?
If you are scared to share this information on this blog post, I get it. Remember, I have been fighting this battle a long time. But if you believe in changing the culture for all of EMS/Fire and those in the ED, you will stand for what is right……and even if you don’t, I’m still here for you.
I will leave you with a few photos to help set the tone.