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NAEMT Board Adopts Position on Violence Against EMS Practitioners

Sep 05, 2015


The NAEMT Board issued a Position Statement calling for all EMS practitioners to be afforded the same legal protection against assaults and other acts of violence as their colleagues in law enforcement and in the fire service, and urges EMS agencies to have policies and programs in place for their EMS practitioners to prepare for and cope with these incidents.

Violence against EMS practitioners in the United Sates is a frequent occurrence, yet no mechanism at the federal level exists to track incidents of assaults or other acts of violence. A 2005 NAEMT survey found that more than 52 percent of EMS practitioners reported as having been assaulted by a patient.

The EMS Voluntary Event Notification Tool (E.V.E.N.T.) provides a means for EMS practitioners to report instances of assault and other forms of violence. However, lack of broad awareness about E.V.E.N.T., along with a general reluctance of EMS practitioners to report such incidents, limits the number of episodes reported.    

NAEMT encourages all states to pass legislation to protect EMS practitioners against acts of violence while performing their official duties.  Further, EMS agencies should ensure that they have policies and programs in place for their EMS practitioners that:

  • Provide appropriate training in situational awareness;
  • Encourage them to report all acts of violence; and
  • Provide support to help them cope and build resiliency.

“Assaults against EMS practitioners by patients and bystanders are broadcast frequently by the media,” said NAEMT President Conrad “Chuck” Kearns. “More troubling are the numerous violent acts that take place but are not reported. EMS practitioners are expected to respond to the medical needs of every community and should be protected by the same safeguards as other professions providing a public service on which similar expectations are placed.”

Read the full text of the position statement here.