BALTIMORE– According to a group representing Baltimore EMS workers, there have been at least 13 attacks and assaults in the past two years.
The Baltimore City Fire Union says paramedics are being attacked at an alarming rate.
In one recent incident, security footage from outside a Baltimore hospital shows two female medics being attacked by a naked man as they attempted to reload their ambulance.
At one point one of the women was knocked to the ground.
Attacks range in severity, in one instance, a medic was held at gunpoint.
Because medical first responders arrive at crime scenes, sometimes even before police, city first responders are asking for basic safety gear and safety training for personnel.
Union President Rick Hoffman says it’s also why medics need protective gear now more than ever.
“Our medics our on the streets of Baltimore 24-7 they hardly get a break at all and once in a while they encounter instances where I think they need to have proper protection,” he said.
Specifically, protective vests or self-defense training.
He says the push for protection is nothing new, this latest effort is also in no way meant to demonize Charm City.
Baltimore City Councilman Brandon Scott has pushed for protections before, he says he’ll do it again.
“Why wouldn’t they be afforded that basic level of protection?” he said.
Mayor Catherine Pugh says she’s seen no evidence to indicate an increase on attacks on medics.
“We know that they come to do their jobs and we’re very supportive of that,” she said.
She also noted there are protocols designed to keep medics from putting themselves in harm’s way.
“Unless it is safe, you don’t interact.”
Hoffman says while that’s generally the idea, there are times when time doesn’t allow to make those distinctions.
“I just don’t want our people hurt that’s the bottom line,” Hoffman said.
He says the cost of protective vests are estimated to be around $95,000.
They mayor also says she is in the midst of negotiations with fire officials. Union officials fear, by the time it may be too late.
Baltimore is home to one of the country’s busiest EMS divisions responding to more than 150,000 calls a year.