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Daniel Patterson, PhD, NRP, addresses attendees at the National EMS Safety Summit during his presentation on fatigue in EMS providers. Photo A.J. Heightman

JEMS editor-in-chief A.J. Heightman with Wichita EMS Medical Director John Gallagher and Prof. Brian Maguire from Australia

Professor Brian J. Maguire. School of Medical and Applied Sciences, CQUniversity in Australia, presented never before seen results from a survey recently completed on violence against EMS personnel around the world. It involved 1,400 responders from seven countries ( While many challenges are presented in curbing the risk of violence, the data supports efforts to do so.

Dr. Maguire also discussed policies that have been implemented in an effort to reduce risks:

  • Legislation (e.g. increasing criminal penalties)

  • Issuing of ballistics vests (which, by the way, can protect responders from injurie if they are involved in an ambulance accident, particularly in the patient compartment). Dr. Maguire noted that there can be unexpected consequences from wearing vests in high heat and during strenuous activities like CPR.

  • Self-defense/attack avoidance, escape training.


He recommended

  1. Attendance at a self-defense class at least once a year;

  2. Maintaining fitness;

  3. Have a safety plan with your partner and repeat it every day;

  4. Be aware of surroundings;

  5. Always be prepared to drop everything and escape;

  6. Report all incidents (and, if possible, all near-misses as well);

  7. Follow workplace policies and procedures;

  8. Participate in prevention programs; and Participate in research

Written by A.J. Heightman, MPA, EMT-P Editor-in-Chief, JEMS
Editor-in-chief of JEMS, A.J. Heightman is a former EMS director and EMS operations director who has researched and specialized in MCI management training for 30 years.

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