Tactfully Tactical or Technically “Tacti-kewl”?

There has been a trend to make fire and EMS more like law enforcement. This trend has dangerous implications. In DT4EMS’ EVE, we continually strive to change the safety culture in emergency medicine. One of the ways we accomplish this is be regaining the perceived neutrality of the provider.

Since the start of the Geneva Convention medical staff were perceived as neutral on the battle field. Every time we dress, stand, talk, walk like police do, not only does the perception of the public change toward us, but our perception of how we should act changes.

Lack of what we should do tactically (tactfully) and trying to be tacti-kewl has caused a continued loss of neutrality.


Examples of Tacti-Kewl:

Having the average paramedic or EMT dressed like a SWAT officer for day to day shift work.

Training the average paramedic or EMT to act like an operator on a mission.

Training EMS/Fire staff control techniques and pain compliance holds for use on medical calls.

Do operators wear the tactical for defensive or offensive situations?

If the EMSer or Firefighter is not assigned to a full-time tactical team, what are they doing while at work any other time?

Do the recent events of officers being ambushed and murdered make you want to appear like an officer while on an EMS run?

In emergency medicine we by all means should remain tactical with our safety. There is a distinct difference between being truly tactical (defensively) and crossing a line to where we do not belong (Tacti-Kewl).

If you don’t believe the lines have been blurred due to Tacti-Kewl, how about the report today EMS crew that pulled over a motorist and threatened to write them a ticket?