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How Indianapolis EMTs train to protect themselves on the job

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Posted at 10:03 AM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 12:09:41-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Emergency medical technicians have to be ready for almost anything when they're on a run.

Whether it’s deflecting, diverting or distracting these are important tips that all EMS personnel have to know protect themselves and their patients.

As part of our series on what it takes to be a first responder, WRTV went to class with a new group of future Indianapolis EMTs as they learned how to protect themselves on the job.

“We're bringing it up to speed as they come in for escaping, mitigating and surviving violent encounters that they may come across while responding to 911 runs,” Evan Cissell said.

Unfortunately, this is something they encounter often.

“It happens every day not to me, but for someone in this service or this occupation, it's happening to you. There's probably, at this point, millions of stories of public safety being assaulted by the public,” Cissell said.

EMT training exercises

Cissell has been with Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services for 11 years. He once thought being assaulted occasionally was just part of the job.

“After I took this class, I was like, you’re right. I didn’t come here to do this. Before I was like, hmmm, ok, that happens. But once I realized I didn’t sign up to get spit on. I didn’t sign up to get hit,” Cissell said

Cissell has now been teaching the class for six years. He said he teaches verbal skills and when physical tactics need to be used.

“We're teaching them verbal skills. to not have to use any physical tactics on top of teaching the physical tactics when verbal skills aren't able to be used or we’re past that,” said Cissell.

Cissell showed me some techniques all first responders need to know.

“First thing we do is hands up and open. Nice everyday stance be in your fighting stance. Whatever is comfortable,” Cissell said. “The objective is not to take the shot straight to the face. So just move it either way. If it didn’t hit, you straight in the face you’re still winning.”

Cissell says EMS personnel have to use these tactics every single day in the job across the country and that's why it's so important that they learn this as recruits.