Detroit EMS to undergo training after vicious attack


DETROIT – The day after Eric Jones was appointed Detroit Fire Commissioner, Detroit EMTs Alfredo Rojas and Kelly Adams were viciously attacked by a man with a box cutter.

Now, Jones is fast tracking safety training for Detroit medics
"The first thing I want to do is immediately get them some training as it relates to de-escalation and how to handle violent individuals or mental individuals at a scene," Jones said.

It will start with communication training called "verbal judo," skills for medics to de-escalate a violent person. Jones says Boston EMS got the same training from Detroit police.

"We spoke with Boston EMS and the Detroit Police Academy trained their EMTs in verbal judo," Jones said. "We have the best of the best firefighters, EMTs, police, so Chief (James) Craig offered that training.

Jones couldn't say why Detroit police and EMS haven't gotten together on safety training in the past.

The training will begin on Nov. 2. Medics will train on communication and mental health and ambulances and police cars will be tracked with GPS so medics will know where their backup is at all times.

But Jones says the top request from Detroit EMS is for body armor. He's studying the use of body armor by EMS in cities like Chicago.

"I'm going to investigate it, and if it is something that will boost morale and provide protection, it's something that I think I'm going to do," Jones said.

EMS union head Joe Barney said the training and armor is what they've been asking for for years.

"We want training," Barney said. "Training is key to surviving everything."

Will we see the people we call for help wearing body armor?

"There is a very, very strong likelihood that it will happen."

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