By Jennifer Baeskens |Staff Writer|
Gun shots, screams and sirens have become all too familiar sounds to San Bernardino residents.
Crime spikes in San Bernardino have left Emergency Medical Service personnel in a compromised position.
They are facing not only the challenges of emergency medicine, but also the dangers of responding to criminal activity.
First responders are concerned with their safety when going into these situations. Violent nature calls that have the possibility of retaliation against these responders are becoming more of the norm in San Bernardino.
“I bought a bullet proof vest for my [own] safety,” said a paramedic who wished to remain anonymous. “It gets really bad. We have a shooting or a stabbing at least once a week.”
On Monday April 14, there was a shooting at a strip mall in San Bernardino.
Two men and one woman were injured in the shooting, according to the San Bernardino Sun.
This was the second act of gun violence in San Bernardino in less than 24 hours.
Firefighters and paramedics were recently approached on a scene and were told that if they didn’t render aid, they would be shot and killed.
“It makes it more difficult for me to do my job as a first responder because I am worried about not only my safety but my partner’s safety, my crew’s safety, and patient safety as well as trying to provide patient care,” said a firefighter who also wished to remain anonymous.
However, police have become so busy that sometimes they are not able to respond quickly enough, leaving EMS personnel with no choice but to enter the scene.
Police clearance involves checking the location and individuals for weapons, determining the nature of the call, determining if the suspects are still at the scene, or if they have left the area, and if necessary, detaining any violent individuals.
These actions allow for the EMS personnel to arrive at a secure scene to safely perform the necessary treatment to the patients. If the scene is unsafe and they are not able to render aid, these patients are at even more risk.
The faster that these patients are stabilized and transported to the hospital, the higher the chance of survival.
Police officers are busier than ever. The increased violence makes it harder for officers to clear scenes for EMS personnel, thus delaying patient care.
These kind of crimes have an impact on students.
“I know about what is going on in this city,” said student Patrice Thompson. “Sometimes I do get worried that this kind of activity will get close to campus.”
“I personally haven’t been to any calls around Cal State, but I know that the crime does sometimes spill over that way,” said a San Bernardino paramedic.