Western Cape EMS: Medics shouldn't use guns

2012-07-30 11:02

Cape Town - Western Cape Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has condemned the use of firearms for protection by some paramedics, it was reported on Monday.

EMS head Cleeve Robertson told the Cape Times that paramedics who used firearms were a dangerous invitation to criminals.

An informal survey by the SA Private Ambulance Emergency Services Association 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," Robertson said.

"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 the job was a dangerous one and emergency workers were at the complete mercy of society.

If they felt threatened, they had the right to immediately withdraw from that situation, he said.

Warrant Officer November Filander told the newspaper the police were on hand to assist paramedics.

"We cannot foresee when there will be attacks, but we suggest paramedics inform police when they are going to a dangerous area and ask for assistance."

  • citizen.kane.35 - 2012-07-30 11:13

    I agree however give them Tazers and make some effort to having a fast response team for backup if required.We need to keep our paramedics safe or they will simply not go into dangerous could be your kids or mine

      sean.murphy.165 - 2012-07-30 11:34

      A tazer can be effective but not against a armed gang of three or four. Let them carry firearms to protect themselved and the patient if need be.

      mofstok - 2012-07-30 11:36

      Tazers are considered to be waaaaay more effective than they really are. They are only good 1-against-1, and some people are more resistant to their effects than others so there are no guarantees a tazer will save your life. Don't bet anything on it.

      michael.vanrheenen.9 - 2012-07-30 11:38

      Soon our EMS staff will need to wear bullet proof vests... I can only see an escort as a solution to these areas. Our police are doing nothing anyway... Put them to good use!

      mofstok - 2012-07-30 11:41

      If they can't guard their own police stations I doubt they have the manpower to escort all EMS ambulances to sites. Besides, 27000 police officers are not competent to handle firearms: something that the licensed and carrying paramedics at least are capable of.

      michael.vanrheenen.9 - 2012-07-30 12:08

      @ mofstok - True... Well then, I say they just should not go to those areas! They have the full right to do so! Nobody can force you to risk your life!

      martin.britchford.5 - 2012-07-30 12:17

      We used to play hot potato with tazers, they really are not the greatest thing in the world, scary as hell but not for self defence. or assign an armed guard to ride along in ambulances and response cars. will cost more money, but is this about money or lives? my guess money will be more important to the big wigs.

      michael.vanrheenen.9 - 2012-07-30 12:22

      You know what I do not understand hey... These people blame poverty on their crimes, but you get extremely poor people who are even living on the streets who do not even steel a grain of rice! They make their living selling scrap and begging for money. Poverty is really NO excuse for these crimes. Why is it then that you only find these types of crime in the townships? Why oh why? You never hear of an ambulance or EMS workers being attacked in other areas...

  • mofstok - 2012-07-30 11:15

    Maybe they wouldn't need guns if they weren't being attacked on a daily basis. Cleeve, you state that you cannot protect your staff yet you lambaste them when they arm themselves. Which would you rather have: Armed paramedics or no paramedics what so ever (because they have all been raped and/or murdered)? You are delusional, stuck in you air conditioned office while real South Africa awaits the brave EMS staff.

  • leanne.zwiegers - 2012-07-30 11:19

    I think that they should be given an armed officer of some sort to escourt them to dangerous areas. That way they are safe but can stay busy with the patient and the officer can stay focused on protecting them if need be.

      mofstok - 2012-07-30 11:29

      With our police's lack of staff competent to guard their own stations I doubt there are people to spare to ride along with ambulances. Not going to happen.

      martin.britchford.5 - 2012-07-30 12:18

      not police, we all know they hire adt and what not to protect them, so get a private security co in on it.

  • Thapelo - 2012-07-30 11:29

    since it happens in cape town, no cANCer phrase in this forum. if it was in Gauteng once would have ANC being attached left,right & centre

      mofstok - 2012-07-30 11:32

      Believe me, paramedics get raped and murdered in Gauteng as well. Go do a search on News24.

      Thapelo - 2012-07-30 11:40

      @mofstok, you miss understood me. i didnt say it doesnt happen in Gauteng. Please click Cltr + F4 to see my point.

      CORNHOLIO - 2012-07-30 12:30

      ah there you are poly , is that todays name?

      chris.cunning.14 - 2012-07-30 15:15

      @thapelo: It's your cANCer friends trying to make Cape town look bad.

  • sean.murphy.165 - 2012-07-30 11:31

    Paramedics get attacked regularly. The police cannot always be there to protect them. They have a right to protect themselved. The firearm is merely the means to do that effectively. Yes paramedics are there to save lives but that does not mean they cannot protect their own lives. Criminals attack them because they are easy tatgets, not because they have firearms. The comments made by the head of EMS are very far removed from reality. What an idiot.

  • michael.barns.1 - 2012-07-30 11:35

    Only in South Africa do paramedics carry guns! Oh well, I suppose they need to learn how to fix people, first shoot them then fix them, onsite training! hahahaha

  • sharon.truebodyvice - 2012-07-30 11:43

    Thats a laugh inform police before going into a dangerous place .........they never there lol But anyway why do they have to Paramedics are there for the people .....why abuse the Paramedics take is just let them try and get to the hospital themselves ....harsh but ....

      mofstok - 2012-07-30 11:46

      Because our society is horribly rotten and disgusting. There is no reason to do this to paramedics.

  • samoras - 2012-07-30 11:58

    Just last last night jumpbag was just stolen\r\nout of ambu in Eastridge Mplain. They both\r\nwere inside the house when the ambu was\r\nbroken into. What in dear heaven do they\r\nwant to do with a jumpbag with only\r\nmedical Equipment in. There,s nothing the\r\ndrug addict can use in that bag.

  • ou.pel.9 - 2012-07-30 12:03

    Instead of trying to inform the SAPS when an EMS Member has to go into a dangerous area, why not just stay out of dangerous areas at all? More than enough other patients in lesser dangerous areas to attend to.

      abram.spamers - 2012-07-30 12:10

      I have been wondering this same thing for years T.T

  • abram.spamers - 2012-07-30 12:09

    These paramedics carry weapons because they know that when they "withdraw from the situation" or have to wait for "police assistance" people will die that could have been saved. Maybe carrying weapons isn't the best solution... but I'll be forever grateful to the paramedic that rescues a family member of mine in doing so.

  • lian.bredenkamp - 2012-07-30 12:11

    if a firearm will not protect them, what would? a police escort? good luck with THAT idea! imho, paramedic teams will have to make like cash-in-transit teams. 2+ workers, 1 for oversight/security. even if paramedics carry individually, they will be too focussed/engrossed on their work, to notice approaching hostiles.

  • rob.bayliss.94 - 2012-07-30 12:17

    The rot is at the top oof the government where there is no respect for the law. Check, you do crime, maybe you get caught, maybe you get tried, maybe you are found guilty, maybe you get taken out of society (to be corrected!!!!!!!), maybe you escape, maybe you serve 50% of your sentence, maybe you play golf and spend your criminal wealth. WHy on earth should anyone respect the law in such a society. And the answer is that some of us have a worldview that says we should respect the law...and some don't!

  • CORNHOLIO - 2012-07-30 12:36

    100 000 paramedics in south africa. wtf

  • uwe.klopfer - 2012-07-30 12:45

    "We cannot foresee when there will be attacks, but we suggest paramedics inform police when they are going to a dangerous area and ask for assistance." ... that would the WHOLE of south africa you mindless twit

  • flyswat - 2012-07-30 12:50

    They should have guns, big guns. They should be protected by a SWAT team and kill anything that moves in a threatening way. That should sort that out...

  • cecilia.vanderwesthuizen.5 - 2012-07-30 13:38

    They even rob ambulances these days preventing patients from getting medical help. So to these medical people I say don't make more patients,kill the robbers as they prevent innocent people from getting help. If they can make other people die they can die aswell.

  • trevor.putterill - 2012-07-30 15:01

    mr robertson 100000 really? what you on? the guys are not trained properly anymore on how to approach suspect areas.There is no more mentorship. Definatly none from our places of higher learning. And to the ethical people who will tell the guys not to use such things you will never find them working in those areas. I have carred a bullet proof on duty for nearly 20 years I will be presenting a course sometime on how to approach such situations and how to react if anyone is interested. keep safe

  • michiel.meyer.56 - 2012-07-30 15:06

    I say let them carry guns for self defense. Tazers are no good.

  • stanley.hill.1042 - 2012-07-30 21:06

    When last did Mr Robertson go alone into a Nigerian drug den, a drunken domestic fight or a men`s hostel that reeks of booze and marijuana on a payday Friday night??? Police escorts only happen if you have the odd 2 hours to wait.... its comforting to feel the weight of a concealed 38 special in the top pocket as the "last resort" when your back is turned while treating a patient.... we used to work 2 persons on RV in the good old days which meant one medic treated while the kept an eye on the general safety and security situations which was reassuring (before the beurocrats and bean counters cut the manning levels and budgets)

  • Pogs69 - 2012-07-31 10:04

    When I worked in RSA as a paramedic I carried a concealed firearm and there was no problem with that. It didn't alter the way in which I treated my patients. I can't see any service having the funding for guards / armed escorts so let them carry a firearm. They all have the right to protect themselves.

  • jeff.spangler.7 - 2012-07-31 13:05

    Sounds like Clave has never worked a day in EMS in his life, or has beeen off the road entirely too long. He's a moron. I WILL be going home to my kids and that means i carry while at work. He is right in the sense that our job is to help people, and we do. But if I am faced with a him or me situation you can bet your ass it wont be me. As for it going against our ethos as EMS personell:; that is probably one of the most ignorent statements I thonk I have ever heard. This guy is probably a tree hugging anti gun shmuck who uses his position to push his ways of thinking. Come work in Flint for one shift you dumb ass!!

  • jeff.spangler.7 - 2012-07-31 13:13

    Sounds like Cleeve is a tree hugging anti gun bigot. Come work one shift in my city PLEASE. You will think twice when your faced with a him or me scenario. Guess what? If your not armed, it becomes a him scenario and your kids lose a father. Get with the times man. Very thankful I dont work there!

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