New Mexico EMTs are participating in a self-defense hosted by Global One Defense Solutions
New Mexico EMTs are participating in a self-defense hosted by Global One Defense Solutions

EMTs in New Mexico are participating in a self-defense training program in order to protect themselves from physically aggressive patients. According to JEMS, the program, which was recently launched by Global One Defense Solutions in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is proving to be a success.

The all-day class is taught by Gil Baca, a retired New Mexico State Police commander and martial arts expert. Participants learn how to protect themselves from a violent patient, while simultaneously trying to protect the patient from additional injury.

As JEMS reports, the class features a variety of real-life situations, including an aggressive patient standing, sitting or laying in the back of a small ambulance. Baca teaches students how to avoid a confrontation, as well as how to escape from a patient’s grasp and subdue them.

“This kind of training is very important with the increase in violence we are seeing, especially when there is delayed backup,” said Ken Hoffman, the director of EMS for McKinley County. “The instruction team relayed important information for our personal security.”

No stranger to violence while working as an EMT, Hoffman said he was once punched in the face by a patient, who then pulled a gun on him.

Janet Butler, a volunteer with the Vanderwagon (N.M.) Volunteer Fire Department, said she was threatened by a patient wielding a pipe.

According to JEMS, recent study by the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in San Diego revealed that 61% of EMS personnel questioned experienced assaults, with 37% requiring medical attention.

“We don’t have the training to deal with these incidents,” said Joy Woolman, a nurse and wife of county fire marshal Bill Woolman.

This is why training programs like the one offered by Global One Defense Solutions are so important.

“These were techniques we could utilize in both our professional and private lives,” Butler said.

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