In a word – YES
I have written on many occasions how lucky I am to be attending the Paramedic Program I do. As if I needed another reason to believe it was the right choice for me, from what I can tell it is one of only two paramedic schools in the entire country that offers defensive training for EMS providers as part of their paramedic students education.
I think this is an EXCELLENT idea and should be something more of us get. If not in our schools then certainly when we enter the workforce.
Before you get your 5-11s in a twist hear me out.
I am a former Marine, trained in hand to hand combat, defending myself was never really something I was worried about until I took this class. Was I schooled that I wasn’t as capable with my hands as I believed I was? No, in fact, I was schooled that the way I had been trained may very well severely injure someone unintentionally. Marine Corps hand to hand is all about aggressive tactics, how to hurt
people enemies, not how to be truly defensive.
What’s the difference you might ask… ask Alan Miller a former Denver Paramedic who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for assaulting a patient in the back of the ambulance. (http://firegeezer.com/2009/11/14/denver-paramedic-sentence-to-12-years-for-assaulting-patient/)
I’m not even going to comment on that case, or what happened there, I wasn’t in the ambulance so I don’t know what happened. I do know that whatever happened the injuries the patient received were severe enough that Miller is now doing a 12 year bid.
Having not had the DT4EMS class, that could have very well been me, or any of the 10 to 15 of my classmates who had some sort of “fight training” prior to our class.
Just today a study was released that found 2/3rd of the paramedics in the study have been assaulted on the job – read the report here
Let’s face it folks pre hospital providers get assaulted – it happens – WAY more often then we care to admit. Regardless of what you are told by your senior partners, supervisors, forum trolls or even medics from back in the “rampart” days IT IS NOT PART OF THE JOB.
I know some of you are saying “don’t be a dick and you wont have to worry about it”
How do I know… I’ve had people tell me that. It is precisely that type of pervasive attitude that makes assaults on providers go unnoticed and under-reported. One of the main focuses of the class is customer service and how to use that aspect of the job to help diffuse a potentially violent situation.
If you are among those who think it doesn’t happen – PLEASE go to the DT4EMS site and take a look at the forums there (here’s a link) and read about the stories that don’t necessarily make the news.
Take a look at this video from the DT4EMS website:
Another thing I don’t want you to assume about this class – the purpose IS NOT to turn you into a ninja, an assassin or even Billy Bob bad ass paramedic – the purpose IS to get pre-hospital providers to know what to expect in certain situations and how to react should the “worst” occur.
For the basic level class we spent 16 hours between classroom and “the mats” training to protect yourself in 4 areas
As defined by DT4EMS the four areas are:
- Preparing the mind – getting past the initial resistance to defending yourself
- Preparing for the street – training in real world techniques to increase your chances of survival
- Preparing for the media – How to defend yourself and still APPEAR to be the victim and non aggressive
- preparing for the courtroom – know the laws and how to represent yourself as a PROFESSIONAL
Yes, the bulk of the time is spent working on defensive tactics and how to be out of the way when an patient turns into an aggressor, but the class itself is so much beyond that.
Interview techniques, on scene responsibilities, survey stances, the assessment L, what a reactionary gap is and why you should try to maintain one, the six steps of DT4EMS self defense, moving in angles and circles, winning the R.A.C.E and R.A.C.E -2- R.E.A.C.T., the 6 D’s (types of potentially violent encounters), when a patient is no longer a patient, scene survey tips, global overviews, levels of response, physical fitness, the list goes on and on
It’s much much more than the perception that it’s a fight class.
Sadly, the pictures taken during the classes don’t show those parts because they don’t make for great action shots… but they are equally important aspects of the training.
Before I get to the pictures of our class – I URGE you to go take a look at the DT4EMS website and get a more in depth look into the program and what it’s founder Kip Teitsort had in mind when he developed the program.
The web site is here DT4EMS
Here are some of the pictures from our class – yes they all emphasize the physical techniques (because they make good pictures) but again the class is much much more than just this stuff.
For the very last part of class we got to “go against” the instructors while they were wearing a F.I.S.T. suit, this part of the class was entirely optional, but it gave us the opportunity to put the skills we just learned in practice.
Here are some pics from my “encounter”
I know there was a picture of the smart ass pose I took with my arms flexed sitting on his back… but mysteriously it wasn’t on the camera when I uploaded the pics… Damn, I wanted to put it on the graduation plaque for him
My last and final point about this excellent class – while you may never ever need any of the physical techniques taught – chances are you wont have to actually do one of those surgical crics they taught you in paramedic school either, but if you do need it – it sure is nice to know isn’t it?
If this class only ever saves ONE provider from harm – I can say for certain that all the effort Kip put into organizing this class will have been worth for him.
DT4EMS – I HIGHLY recommend it – it was an absolute blast of a class and just may save someones life on the streets one day.