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Pepper spray + ambulances????

Discussion in 'Firefighter/EMS Talk' started by D25, Mar 5, 2008.

  1. D25

    D25 The Quick

    Jan 26, 2003
    Law enforcement in my neck of the woods is going through some financial difficulties that has led to drastic personnel cutbacks. Often there will be 1 deputy patroling the nearly 100 miles of highway that is unincorperated, and the municipal LEOs absolutely will not leave their areas. We have responded to this by adopting strict guidelines for what to not respond to prior to having a LEO investigate/ secure the scene, regardless of the time it may take for a cop to show up. We don't do domestic violence, ODs, GSWs, suicide attempts, etc. unescorted. That is all fine with me, and has kept us safe so far, but today, we started discussing the possibility of carrying pepper spray on our ambulances.

    I think that this is a horrible idea. I have always considerred the possibility of someone getting too wild to control while in my care, and I always believed that pulling the ambulance over to the side of the road and getting out to be the best option. I have never had to do this- demeanor, de-escalation and finally restraints, either chemical or physical, have always served me well. But in the back of my mind, bailing out of the ambulance has always been my last ditch tactic.

    I explained this, and the response was that I'm a big, athletic guy, with some formal martial arts training, but the pepper spray would be for our older, fatter, slower EMTs and paramedics. The pro-pepper spray group agrees that getting the hell out of Dodge is the correct course of action, but they think that the spray would give us the ability to distract someone so that we could get away from a bad situation. I think that it will either a) make running away take longer, or b) make running away very difficult, as both parties will now not be able to see.

    What do y'all think?
  2. RyanNREMTP

    RyanNREMTP Inactive/Banned

    Jun 16, 2007
    Waco, Texas
    Bad idea to me since you are unleashing pepper spray in a confined area that will affect you, the patient and your partner. What if it is sprayed before your partner can find a safe place to pull over?

    If anything I'd consider a hand held taser.

  3. Tvov


    Sep 30, 2000
    I really don't think you want to use pepper spray in the back of an ambulance. At our old police department building, we used to get called a couple times a year to bring vent fans to ventilate the building after an officer used pepper spray in the cell area. This was in an area where the cells had one wall open (bars), not an enclosed box. Our new police department building has a built in ventilation system to take care of this.
  4. GLOCK23DK


    Aug 27, 2006
    Hinckley, Ohio
    no way would i deploy pepper spray in the back of an ambulance. you, the driver and the patient would immediately feel the effects. (and it sucks, i might add.)

    Taser would be my choice, if feasible...but aside from that, if a patient has the possibility to be violent, thats what soft restraints are for.
  5. huskerbuttons


    Jan 25, 2008
    SW Ohio
    If you have an unruly patient then you need to stop the truck and GET OUT! Or if it is at a scene, remove yourself from the scene ASAP! You know all of this as you have previously stated. My EMS System is a rural area with only 1 SO or PO for the 170 square miles, It can be up to 45 minutes for an officer to get there. We will wait until the officer says it is safe no matter how long it takes. Once you cross the "safety" line in the sand there is no going back. I do not get paid to fight with people, if they do not want me there all they have to do is say so and I am gone. There should be no pepperspray or TASER's in the ambulance or on EMS Providers. Now if they would let me carry my AR in the truck...:whistling:
  6. D25

    D25 The Quick

    Jan 26, 2003
    Thanks. All things that I've been thinking/ saying. I was just wondering if I was missing something.
  7. Hunca Munca

    Hunca Munca nonplussed

    Dec 20, 2006
    allegheny county
    Pepper spray is not the solution to your problem.

    (now a Glock on the other hand).......
  8. Roostmonkey


    Feb 20, 2008
    We get taught "scene safety" from the start, but...

    Today my director of EMS was at a fairly benign call and ended up tackling and disarming a criminal who was drawing a Glock from his waistband.

    Why I can carry on my off time (when I'm not regularly walking into strangers houses dressed like a cop) but not on duty irks me to no end.
  9. Onkel Walther

    Onkel Walther

    Apr 23, 2005
    Hello from Germany,

    I'm a volunteer firefighter and someteims, our ambulance teams have some problems with violent guys in the car. Some carry pepper jel, which is better than pepper spray in the car.
    I prefer my surefire defender P6 flashlight. The light is very bright and it realy can help to win some seconds to get out of the car or beat the hell out of the attacker withn the lamp.
    Sometimes I wish to have my HK P7 or a taser for self defense, but those weapons are restricted for us.
    In Germany, only LEO's and criminals are armed on the streets...

    Against an attacker, a fire extinguisher is a good choice too.
  10. MeefZah

    MeefZah Cover is Code 3

    Jan 2, 2008
    Lost Coast, Cali
    O2 therapy!

    No way I'm abandoning my rig, though. I'll encourage the patient to get out, or toss them out, before I do that.
  11. Skintop911

    Skintop911 Uber-Practical

    Nov 2, 2003
    Midwest, USA
    EMS has stuck it's head in the sand with over-reliance on the traditional two safety fundamentals: Don't enter unsafe scenes, leave those that are.

    This ignores the reality that initial info is mostly flawed, cops providing your overwatch vary in quality and diligence, and there may be scenes that can't be escaped. People have been injured and killed as a result.

    EMS programs should implement use of force and defensive tactics training, as well as deployment of defensive equipment. Thankfully, some do. There should be no more room in organizations for the "no fighting", "safe scenes only", and yes, "no weapons", mindset.

    Many fall victim to the quaint notion that they're the beloved, the helping profession, the rescuers, and that violence (just and unjust) is the domain of LE. More and more, patients/suspects/victims make no such distinctions.

    For a truly enlightening experience, conduct some serious scenario-based FoF training exercises with personnel.
  12. hotpig

    hotpig IAFF Local 4766 CLM

    I worked hospital security part time for three years. We used pepper foam in ER often with no problems.
  13. FiremanMike

    FiremanMike Way too busy

    Jul 26, 2007
    The interwebs
    Uhm, are you implying that if you had pepper spray at your disposal you would cease utilizing your de-escalation techniques?

    I'm all for having another tool at my disposal, if verbal judo fails why not have another avenue, esp knowing that police backup isn't coming.
  14. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday CLM

    May 13, 2007
    Arizona Oven
    This usually works...

  15. bci21984


    Mar 21, 2008
    get pepper foam, it will not get picked up by the air. you can squirt the foam in your hand, stick it up to your nose and inhale deeply and it wont bother you. letting it make contact however is another story all together. use in the jail i work in almost once a week
  16. Tvov


    Sep 30, 2000

    Love that movie! One of the best "Thursday Dumb Violent Movie Night" movies my friends and I used to have.

  17. cdemarse

    cdemarse NRA Life Member

    Apr 1, 2008
    I have a feeling that if a EMS/Fire service used pepper spray on a patient no matter how unruly there would be lawsuits to follow.

    Bad Idea IMO.
  18. Dutch48


    Apr 10, 2008
    west TN
    Here we are VF's and First responders and have two ambulances that we operate if the contracters are on call. We are allowed to carry concealed or open if we wish and we do carry Kimber sprayers also. We have had to many firemen hurt on calls that we get to before SD's arrive and several years ago the Sheriff decided to make us aux SD's also.