Do paramedics and Firefighters DESERVE to be armed and wear Armor?

It’s a long debated issue that boils down to the local level choices based on culture, budget, and more.

In a recent story from Sarasota County in Florida, Fire Department paramedics responded to a call at 2932 Goodrich Avenue around 4am for a person who had reportedly taken a fall. When the paramedics arrived, the resident at the home told paramedics that they had not called for help. According to Sarasota Police, the paramedics started walking back to the ambulance and a man in a hoodie appeared and fired several shots at them, striking the front driver’s side door at least twice.

Paramedics at work

The story raises many questions. A friend and local firefighter instructor in Fort Lauderdale Florida has shared enough stories to make us believe it warrants a discussion. He has seen incredible circumstances. These include the shooting at the baggage claim in the airport in Fort Lauderdale to gangs preventing treatment of their victims….at gunpoint.

In Las Vegas, the “Las Vegas tactical paramedic team” was formed in wake of shooting there. This new team is made up of eight paramedics who will now be on the front lines with firefighters and police officers, and they all were body armor.

Should medics, paramedics, and other normally unarmed first responders be able to arm themselves if they own a concealed carry permit? Should the agencies provide and or allow body armor?

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7 Responses to “Do paramedics and Firefighters DESERVE to be armed and wear Armor?”

  1. Joe

    Absolutely they should have body armor and be armed if properly trained. I just retired after 28 years with the Fire Dept. and we have had body armor on our medics for at least the last 15 years and on the Engines for the last 5 years. People in uniform are targets and many times "non-violent" scenes become violent. We never knew what we were walking into and more than once we ended up wrestling someone with a gun or weapon.

  2. Larry

    Yes. We recently had an active shooter drill where I work and all FD and EMS responders wore armor. Was glad to see it.

  3. Todd

    From what we learned from the "Vegas shooting" and our military, having people who are competent defensive marksman and medical skills, save lives. We all know it is hard to provide trauma care, in a "hot" zone, and securing the safety of the area should come first. But, we also know that minutes count in saving lives. Which opens up another debate, is it more efficient to train someone who already possess the defensive skills in trauma care or train trauma responders in defensive skills. In a perfect world all would be trained, but having the time to train people to the level they need is time, that is not there. Then there is the flip side of the "legal action", though I agree it is sad that we live in a day when people "quarterback", the actions of decisive people, when saving lives, it still needs consideration.

  4. Milton simmonds


  5. Aaron K Gilbert

    We are making a new armored medical backpack designed by paramedics and for paramedics. It deploys level IIIA armor in about one second of needed. It then has a quick release that detaches the medical pack for easy access to the supplies.

  6. Sherman Cushman

    Yes Absolutely

  7. Ken

    My bro in law and also a clown friend were EMS and paramedics/ first responders. Often they were on scene before police. Often shot at or attacked, (to steal drugs from truck/ambulance). Ftiend got hit with brick in head and has permanent brain damage. They should have armor and weapons for self defence.