Paramedics in Body Armor?
Cleveland EMS units will now need to wear body armor during calls for service in the field.
Effective December 21, 2015 the Cleveland EMS Director ordered her employees to begin wearing their issued bullet-proof vests while on calls in the field. For example, Paramedics would be required to wear the personal protective equipment while responding to a medical emergency at an apartment complex but not at court or at the hospital. Though the EMS Director stated that no specific threats have been made against the department, she did cite incidents in other jurisdictions (such as Detroit) where Paramedics had been attacked. In the public safety community we have always known that first responders (i.e. police, fire, ems) are potential secondary targets of attacks; however, we don’t always see them as potential targets at rather routine call for service–such as the infamous “difficulty breathing” call that always seemed to come about the time I was scheduled to go home.
This is the first EMS service I could find that has started requiring body armor during all calls for service. One of the big questions is what happens if someone takes their body armor off to better perform their duties during a medical response? Are they still able to receive workman compensation benefits? This will be a muddy area that may find precedent from the law enforcement community.