“They need to do something,” said paramedic Rebekah Edwards. “I mean just the fact more of us are getting hurt, more of us are being assaulted.”
In 2015, Edwards says she was assaulted while riding in the back of an ambulance. She broke her hand while escaping from her attacker. She says she has had two surgeries and she still does not have full use of her hand.
In the most recent survey from the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, more than one in two EMT and paramedic respondents reported they have been assaulted by a patient.
California Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona) said he understands. As a paramedic for 30 years, he is sponsoring legislation, Assembly Bill 263, that would require private ambulance providers to track physical attacks against their crews and send that data to the state. The information would then be posted online.
“We can look back at the end of the year to see what type of incidents are occurring where our first responders are being injured, and how to better address that through training, education or safety gear,” said Rodriguez.
The private provider for the city of San Diego, Rural Metro, now AMR, says it does support the reporting requirements in the bill. The California Ambulance Association, which represents private providers, says any effort to improve safety is welcome.
Neither though supports the bill in its entirety.
They are against the bill, saying its main goal is not to address violence in the workplace.