Metro Emergency Medical Services in Cape Town has condemned the use of firearms for protection by paramedics after an informal survey found that some felt the need to carry guns.
The head of EMS, Cleeve Robertson, said that paramedics who used firearms were a dangerous invitation to criminals.
Robertson was responding to a survey carried out by the the SA Private Ambulance and Emergency Services Association. It found that some of the country’s 100 000 paramedics carried guns on duty.
“It goes against our ethics because we are there to save lives,” said Robertson.
“A firearm is no protection whatsoever. In fact, it will attract criminals because they will come for your firearm. In my view, it is definitely looking for trouble.”
Robertson said paramedics faced dangerous situations in all communities.
“The truth is you can face danger in Constantia. In every situation, there are criminals at every turn. Wherever paramedics go they are vulnerable, it is the nature of the job,” Robertson said.
He said there were no means to protect paramedics as they were “completely at the mercy of society”.
He said the spate of attacks on paramedics – about one incident each month this year – was a reflection of the lawlessness in society.
“There is no place for firearms in society, in all current research and evidence. Paramedics know that in any instance where they feel their safety is being threatened, they can withdraw from that situation,” Robertson said.
Editor’s Note: I found this way too amusing not to share. “A firearm is no protection whatsoever. In fact it will attract criminals because they will come for your firearm.” As an EMT, I can attest no scene is ever as it is dispatched. I have been assaulted, and had my life threatened. –Robert Gillock Web News Editor