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Crawford Co. EMS employees learn "de-escalation" - KOAM TV 7

Crawford Co. EMS employees learn "de-escalation"

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CRAWFORD COUNTY, KANSAS -

According to a study by the National Association of EMTs, 52 percent of emergency medical service employees, such as paramedics, report being injured by an assault on the job. 

Crawford County EMS personnel undergo two days of "de-escalation" training in hopes of reducing cases of assaulted employees.

"Now that's only 52 percent that have reported it. I'm one that was attacked three different times and never reported it to anybody, so we know that number is really low," Capt. Brett Peine said, who is leading the training.

The training focuses on mental preparation, recognizing potential for violence and responding to an assault. It's different from most self-defense training such as law enforcement, because the person attacking a paramedic is likely a patient, or an angry bystander or upset family member. In the case of a patient, proper tact must be retained by the officer while treating the patient medically.

"With some of the designer drugs and things like that going on right now, we see this as becoming more and more of a problem. So we need to give our staff the ability and the knowledge and the skills to defend themselves in a reasonable manner," Peine said.

Nine employees are currently undergoing training but Peine said all personnel will in the near future.

Paramedic Zack Walker says he has been physically attacked twice while employed at Crawford County. As for verbal assault? Too many to count he says.

"Everything is vitally important because this is such a major problem in EMS, so being able to talk to somebody and de-escalate them verbally is a fantastic tool to have. Hoping to not have to go to the physical skills is something we all hope never happens," Walker said.

The training bounces between a classroom setting and practicing the self-defense skills on one another.

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