Research Analysis: Preventing downstream consequences of EMS assaults

The National Association of EMTs (NAEMT) recently published a survey on member experiences with violence in the prehospital setting. They received nearly 2,200 responses from mostly paramedics and EMTs detailing not only their exposure to violence, but also the role violence plays on their perceptions of safety, provider knowledge of reporting systems, agency policies and procedures, as well as the types of education and training respondents were interested in.

Ninety-one percent of respondents reported having been verbally harassed, while two-thirds reported being physically assaulted while practicing EMS, mirroring rates previously published. There was no difference across genders, however, women were slightly less likely to feel safe on duty versus their male counterparts (57% vs. 64%).

NAEMT’s decision to ask about uniforms was unsurprising given the debate that often forms around the importance of distinguishing EMS from other first responders. Two-thirds of respondents felt their uniform was unique enough to delineate their role as a healthcare provider, however, across different types of agencies, fire-based providers were the least likely to feel this way.

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