Geoff- MI Course

My name is Geoff. I have been a firefighter and EMT-basic/paramedic since 2002. I took DT4EMS EVE in October 2014. I have covered most of the demographic and geographic aspects of the job, save the major metropolitan. I am thankful that I have never been assaulted in my job, though there have been some near misses. I do unfortunately know some providers who have not been as fortunate and it seems to be becoming a pandemic.

I started following Kip and digging through the mounds of content on the DT4EMS website. I was hooked, Kip was talking about something I saw becoming an issue, however at the time I lacked the knowledge on how to address issue. The more I listened, the deeper the desire became to first equip myself, and then figure out how to bring this to my peers. I waited and waited, checking the website regularly for a class at least close enough for me to make it a reality. Finally Kip got close enough, I rearranged an entire week just to get the two days to go to the EVE class. I signed up and then asked myself, can I do this? There is no way in two days that I can learn even the basics of this “culture change” and the physical skills (they looked really complicated in the some of the accessible videos).

I got the pre-course workbook and study guide. I dove in! I again questioned if this was possible, can I really learn enough to protect myself, change my personal culture, and become a warrior for the change? The physical techniques looked easier in the tutorials, but I still wondered.

Finally the first of class arrived…I walked in with what I thought was an idea of what I was about to experience and learn, after all I have been following Kip for the better part of 9+ months now. Within the first hour class I realized a few things. First, somehow, some way Kip was going to get all this information to stick and be absorbed in just 2 days. Second that if someone was going to get you prepared for the physical skills in two days, again it was going to be Kip and his curriculum structure. Third that everything I expected walking into this class was about to be exceeded on a scale I was unprepared for.

The class was more than I could put into words. Kip fed a beast inside me, that now has an undying hunger for action and change. Since the end of the first day I have been contemplating the way to bring DT4EMS to Illinois and then to saturate Illinois with the knowledge. I am now jonesing for more DT4EMS and anxiously awaiting my chance to go to the instructor course!

After class I am more comfortable talking with my peers about violence in our job. I no longer wonder what I going to do if I ever end up in that situation, instead I know what I am going to do. Kip also opened my eyes to some of the crap situations we allow ourselves to remain in and how we have lost our neutrality. Since the class I have made a definitive effort to practice what I was taught, be more observant, I have gotten back to actively ensuring that the scene is safe, but I still struggle sometimes with letting my hands drift to my side or pockets, though I am getting better about it.

Just five days after I finished the class and only my second shift since the class, I put some of the knowledge imparted to use in the field. As I told DT4EMS “So I got one of the proverbial screw jobs from class tonight. The magical you’re unarrested and now are a baseless psych patient that has to go with EMS.” We were called to a group residential home, initially for a fire alarm, as we go enroute we are advised there appears to be a fight in progress and to wait for the police. We stage, the police secure the scene, the assailant has left the scene, we go in and secure the fire alarm.

The police and staff locate and return the assailant to the scene. Now the facility, who has state awarded custody of the person, want him to go for a psychological evaluation. In my mind I am thinking, no he needs to be returned to jail. So he now becomes my “patient” who I have no consent from and no truly binding right to treat from the facility. His body language is still one of an aggressive person who wants nothing to do with me.

So I get him to look and seemingly acknowledge me and impart the wisdom from class, telling him that basically I am not the police and have no intention of keeping him here. As we pull away I remind him to let me know if he is leaving so I can pull over. Now being more observant, I abstain from working on typing up my report, stay a little more on edge, and was relieved that the RN at the hospital figured out how to read between the words that I was speaking when I called in. As Kip would say “Culture=Changed” I AM NOT A COP, I WILL NOT TAKE CUSTODY

I have struggled to convince my peers there is a problem and that this is a step to correcting and protecting ourselves. I have leaned on Kip to garner more tact and knowledge to break through with these individuals. I even shocked my partner. I am not a fighter and haven’t rolled since high school wrestling. So my partner was skeptical of the skills we were provided with, he practices Jujitsu. So we agreed not to go to the ground or hurt each other…I gave him free range mugger’s choke-set him up to be rolled off the hip; driving choke-broke his grip and was gone, driving choke into a wall-left him having a close encounter with the wall; catching a hand-helped him study his palm and be set up to be rolled. Though not sold entirely, he was more than a little unprepared for my new knowledge.

I know this has gotten long, so I will leave you with one of the first things I told Kip after class- “This is by far the best class I have taken, related to my job, in the almost 13 years I have been attending classes. If my organization never reimburses me for the class and I never have to use what you taught, it will still be the best money I have ever spent.”