As emergency service personnel, we respond to all types of incidents and are continuously reviewing measures to ensure the safety of our responding brothers and sisters. While many departments have traditionally implemented policies requiring responding fire and EMS apparatus to stage away from a violent scene and await police, they are now considering equipping responders with firearms following targeted attacks on emergency service personnel.
VFIS has recognized an increased number of inquiries requesting a position on members/employees carrying firearms for protection while on duty. Accordingly, please consider the following position statement when evaluating whether or not to permit responders to carry firearms:
“VFIS neither approves nor disapproves of members/employees of emergency services arming themselves for self-defense purposes during the course and scope of ESO activities. Each ESO may develop a policy in this regard. If a policy is created that allows members who are licensed to carry firearms to do so, and formalizes such self-defense measures, that policy should not be more restrictive than applicable state and federal laws concerning the storage, carrying, licensing and use of firearms.”
The debate on whether to allow fire and EMS crews to carry firearms will continue as long as guns play a factor in our society. How you protect yourself and your fellow responders during these incidents is up to you.