Paramedics, Firefighters Weigh Pros And Cons Of Being Armed On The Job


UPDATED: Wednesday January 2, 2013 9:28 PM

The cases of people firing on emergency crews are adding up.

  • A paramedic in Fort Wayne, Ind. was injured by bullet fragments when someone fired 17 rounds into his ambulance.
     
  • In Houston four bullets struck an ambulance.
     
  • In March 2011,  a gunman opened fire on first responders before police killed the suspect.
     
  • Recently in upstate New York, a man ambushes firefighters, killing two of them, as they arrived to battle a fire. 

Many wonder if those trained to save lives should also be armed.

Jay Walters is an 18 year veteran of the Columbus Fire Department.

“Any run that we have in the city, that is considered harmful to us,” said Walters.

Walter said they are required to wear a bullet proof vest on those runs. It’s almost a daily occurrence.

But when it comes to carrying firearms at work, Walters said it's a bad idea.

“I think it's going to create more dangers for us. Now, it's going to put a bullseye on these,” said Walters.

Matt Thomas works with Walters and he agrees. He said most people look at them as the good guys.

“If we become another threat, that's going to impair our ability to help people,” said Thomas.

The spokesman for the Ohioans For Concealed Carry is a former paramedic and he disagrees with Walter and Thomas.

“If we allow everyone else in society to obtain a concealed carry license, lawfully, then we certainly should allow our first responders to do the same,” said Philip Mulivor, Ohioans For Concealed Carry.

But the Columbus Division of Fire said it's against arming its firefighters and paramedics, instead leaving the job to police and leaving their officers
to help those in a medical emergency.

The issue isn't going away.

10TV has learned the Ohio State Firefighters Association and the Ohio Association of Emergency Medical Services both have put on the issue of arming first responders on their agenda this month.

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