CountryFireAuthority

First responder assaults – the shocking stats

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We must question the sanity of the world we live in. First responders – police, fire and ambulance – are generally people trying to save the community from danger by putting themselves in harm’s way. Yet the incidence of assaults against them has grown to shocking levels around the world. These are not exhaustive stats (this will come in a more comprehensive piece) but this piece paints a picture of what is going on and why we shouldn’t be surprised at the growing incidences of PTSD suffered by first responders. Something must be done. The next journey for CM is to provide a solution.

By branch:

POLICE

The FBI noted in 2016 that 57,180 (c.10% of all) US police officers were assaulted while performing their duties. 28.9% were injured (enough to enforce time away from work). The largest percentage of victim officers (32.2%) were assaulted while responding to disturbance calls (domestic violence, family disputes, pub fights).

Assailants used hands, fists or feet in 78% of the incidents, firearms in 4.2% of incidents, and knives or other cutting instruments in 1.9% of the assaults. Other types of dangerous weapons were used in 16% of assaults. Assaults on police in the US are up 17% in the past two years. 

In NSW, Australia some 2,343 (13.3%) police officers out of 16,500 have been at the receiving end of assault in 2017. That’s 6 per day. With regard to official statistics, the NSW Police Force indicated that over a three year period from 2013 to 2015, an average of 2,236 police officers per year were assaulted during the course of their duties. Around 7% of officers actually end up physically injured. 

 AMBULANCE/EMS

In the US health care professionals experience the highest rate of workplace violence (WPV) compared to all other industries, with the majority of violent injuries committed by their patients according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Studies show EMS responders were three times higher than the national average for all other occupations to suffer WPV. In regards to occupational fatalities, the rate among paramedics is more than twice the national average for all occupations and is comparable to those of police and firefighters at 12.7 per 100,000 workers per year.

The rate of nonfatal injuries among US paramedics was 34.6 per 100 full-time workers per year — a rate more than 5x higher than the national average for all workers.  In regard to fatal injuries, a retrospective cohort study of nationally registered emergency medical technicians (EMTs) in the U.S. found that 8% of fatalities were due to assaults. 

Males have been reported as the most frequent perpetrators of violence however, a separate study found female patients of the mean age of 32.5 years +/- 8.1 years to be the most frequent perpetrators. 

In the NSW Ambulance Service, approximately 51% of assault incidents were attributed to mental illness, 22% to alcohol, 15% to drugs. Similarly, statistics provided by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) concerning violence against Police from July 2006 to June 2016 suggest alcohol is a factor in many incidents.  Assaults on ambos in NSW are up 8-fold since 2001. Median lost hours for those EMS crew assaulted is around 8.6 weeks.

FIRE FIGHTERS

In what world do people shoot fireys? Here are 3 specific incidents in 2016 of attacks on fire fighters in the US. 

April 15, 2016: Firefighter fatally shot, second wounded in Prince George’s, Baltimore, Maryland

Jan. 22, 2016: Ark. firefighter shot, killed on EMS call, Pulaski County, Arkansas,

Jan. 20, 2016: Denver fire chief stabbed near station, Denver, Colorado,

Fire and Rescue NSW indicated its officers do not have the sort of violence prevention training of police and paramedics better able to protect their crew’s health and safety, including in respect of violent incidents. At the Parliamentary Committee’s hearing on 14 November 2016, Fire and Rescue NSW witnesses provided the following evidence:

Basically, when a crew arrives at an incident, you have a station officer and a station commander in charge of the crew and the…truck. That person undergoes promotional programs to get to that position. Part of that is understanding how the legislation is applied in reality from a practical point of view. Also, during that experience – we are talking probably eight to 10 years for that to occur …The promotional programs…cover the responsibilities of the officer and advise around the standard operational guidelines of when to withdraw and ask for police support and what is safe or not safe.

…If we look overseas for experiences and tried to align our experience to that, you would have to say that the civil unrest that is happening in the United States probably would not occur here to that degree. However, there is also an underlying issue in the United States where emergency service is seen as part of an arm of government and there is, hopefully, a small growing trend where emergency service ambushes are occurring…random shooters are calling emergency services to locations to make a point. We hope that never crosses to this country here, but we would always have an eye on what happens in other jurisdictions…because it is quite possible someone would pick that up as a possibility in this jurisdiction….”

PRISON GUARDS

The UK HMPS note that there were 7,159 assaults on staff in the year to March 2017 up 32%YoY. Serious assaults were up 25%YoY to 805 incidents. The National Tactical Response Group (NTRG) which is only called under extreme levels of prisoner violence  surged from 120 in 2010 to an annualized 630 by the end of 2016.  

THE PTSD IMPACT

This was the fascinating part of the research. It isn’t that the job isn’t hard enough already, it’s the lack of resources to support first responders when waiting for incidents. Lots of idle time to ponder.

US FEMA note stress has not only been categorized by exposure to traumatic incidents, but also the monotonous operational characteristics of EMS organizations, such as paperwork, lack of administrative support, low wages, long hours, irregular shifts, and cynical societal attitudes toward public safety officers.

Cumulative stress associated with the monotonous duties or low acuity calls has led to feelings of desensitization for patients, and their job as a whole. Concerns have also been raised regarding sleep quality and fatigue and the impact it has not only on the provider, but also job performance and patient  outcomes. Some research has posited that organizational stress often contributes more to the development of PTSD than traumatic events.

Also noteworthy is the notion that paramedics are often the source for a lot of criticisms by society for the decisions they make in determining life or death situations for patients and themselves. This can affect EMS providers in many ways and may contribute to the slow decline in provider morale.

Burnout (emotional exhaustion) is one of many organizational outcomes that may arise as a result of violence experienced by EMS responders. The question of whether or not violence would eventually lead to burnout was first raised in the early 1990s . Exposures to violence were noted as a reason many EMTs, especially volunteers, left the profession. In an early study from 1998, 7% of survey respondents within one urban fire department considered leaving EMS as a direct result of an abusive situation they encountered while on the job. Knowing how to emotionally cope following a tough incident can help to reduce anxiety and burnout.  

Mixed methods studies conducted in the U.S. and Sweden found that violent encounters altered the patient-provider relationship. Yet, some in the industry feel that exposures to violence do not cause stress or negatively impact providers. This lack of effect has been attributed to the internalization of the mentality that violence is a part of the job.  It has been posited that years of experience may be a protective factor that allows more experienced responders to experience less stress and anxiety after violent events. 

Evidence weighing the social and economic costs associated with increased violence and burnout is based mostly upon anecdotal evidence, with no assessments conducted on monetary value. Some suggest that, as violence increases, the need for police backup also increases, thereby increasing response time and delaying potentially critical care to a patient in need. 

Other concerns include altered operations for the private sector of EMS. Intent to leave the profession is also a concern. As more EMS responders leave the profession, numerous organizational and patient impacts have been hypothesized, including increased costs for training new EMTs and paramedics, greater numbers of inexperienced paramedics serving at any one point in time, and increased error rates committed by new and inexperienced paramedics. EMS responders also report seeking a job change away from their ambulance role. In some cases, responders stated they lost interest in fieldwork and tried to get off the road and into desk positions. 

What’s clear is that not enough is being done to help first responders cope with occupational hazards and handling the stress that comes from it. That is going to change very soon. Stay  posted!

While you’re at it, why not thank those first responders randomly in the street for the great work they do. It goes a long way! They need you just as much as you will need them when you’re in a bind!

Double Dipper Dan

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Social Justice Warrior and Victorian Premier Dan Andrews is in hot water after 21 of his Labor MPs have been embroiled in a “Rorts for Votes” scheme investigated by the Ombudsman which breached parliamentary guidelines. It found Labor misused almost $388,000 during the 2014 election campaign. Labor spent $1,000,000 of taxpayers dime over two years trying to stop the Ombudsman investigating them. While the money has reportedly been repayed, Andrews & Co are pleading honest mistakes with regards to probably the most basic and well understood laws of election campaigning. Were someone to rob a bank, invest the proceeds to make a big return then return the original funds, would the justice system turn a blind eye? Andrews would seem to think that there should be no consequences.

Dan Andrews is the first to point the finger at everyone else for morals and ethics. How quick he is to virtue signal on social media at his amazing feats for the state of Victoria which put the rest of the country to shame. To belt neighboring states inferior unemployment rates when his government has been creating New Deal type tax spending programmes to fund new jobs.

Here is a list of just five of the shocking lapses in ethics and morals his government can lay claim to:

1) Andrews handed over $500mn in taxpayer funds to contractors for the backflip on the East-West link. He said during the election campaign he would honour those contracts but said after becoming Premier that “Be very clear about this: there will be no compensation paid.” Then still burnt the funds.

2) He told Victorians that the closure of the Hazelwood coal fired power station would hit electricity bills by 85c/week for the sake of the environment. This turned out to be an average of $278/year because of the over reliance on wholesale electricity markets. Despite all of his hair brained renewables schemes, to make up for the shortfall of closing Hazelwood 100MW of dirty diesel generators were secured to offset any shortfalls in baseload. He also spoke of how many green jobs would be created. Facts show that green job creation has been on a long term downtrend

3) Was instrumental in forcing rural fire-fighting volunteers (those who do it from the heart) against their will to come under the control of the fireman’s union who helped him get elected.

4)  To indoctrinate diversity the Vic Police practiced segregation in police recruiting seminars as the blueprint to reach nirvana in terms of the type of open mindedness and multi-cultural society we should strive for. If they truly wanted to teach the virtues of diversity why don’t they just have a come one come all seminar which didn’t base it on gender, religious or sexual orientation. Victoria has more cops per capita than any other state yet home invasions, carjackings and other crime rates are soaring.

5) The Andrews’s government wants to allow girls as young as 11 to get access to the contraceptive pill without consent from the parents. Most parents worry about their kids. What they eat and what they put in their bodies. Some kids may only want it to reduce pain during their menstrual cycle but to have a government provide a service which deliberately allows kids to bypass parental approval is downright wrong.

While Opposition Leader Matthew Guy has hardly helped his cause by having dinner with a member of the underworld in August 2017 in what was dubbed ‘Mobster-Lobster-gate’ this should hopefully wake up socialist Victoria to the crooked nature of the incumbents.

Who do you think you are kidding Mr Andrews?

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Most people that sign up to a Facebook or Twitter feed do so because they share similar thoughts or values. I noted Daniel Andrews, the Vic Premier, thinks that his followers are endorsements for his ideas and policies. Daniel Andrews champions that he has over 200,000 likes, twice as many as Mike Baird had in New South Wales and the completely worthless boast that “Mike Baird gets no ‘Likes’ after 10pm.” There are 5.8mn Victorians. We cannot even be sure that all 200,000 likes came from Victoria so even if it were true that’s is 3.4% of the Vic population. So 96.6% of the population may not agree with you. Even if we were to use the 14 million people in Australia with Facebook who could ‘Like’ your page, then it’s only 1.4%. Statistically a pathetic number.

The latest ReachTEL poll shows 39% are very dissatisfied with his performance. His heavily socialist Labor Party is not delivering. The poll also revealed that his Party would lose up to 18 seats if an election were held today. It is no surprise. Whether promoting diversity in the police force by offering gender segregation in its recruitment seminars, the sharp uptick in gang violence, the Marxist indoctrination of kids via the Safe Schools programme led by a proclaimed communist Roz Ward who was filmed harassing Trump supporters, the forcing of the volunteer CFA to bend to the will of the Fire Brigade Union and most recently equal gender pedestrian crossing lights etc etc.

Once again the One Nation Party is polling strongly at 12.5% once again showing the Greens irrelevance in politics. For a growing number of Victorians the 2018 election can’t come soon enough especially now the Speaker and Deputy Speaker are now embroiled in an expenses rort.

Democratic People’s Republic of Victoria

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How amazing it is to watch what is going on in the People’s Democratic Republic of Victoria.

Daniel Andrews got in by the skin of his teeth yet acts as though he has an overwhelming mandate. Can one honestly show how trying to grant Union control of a volunteer body has any merit? These people do it from the heart yet they are having control unnecessarily ripped from them to appease a union who backed him into his role. Should his Emergency Services Minister Garret be forced to resign for possessing principles? I’m sure they’ll come up with dozens of reasons to need the union to rule  the CFA. Afterall the volunteers should be ashamed to offer their hearts to the community Without pledging allegiance to their Dear Leader!

With such actions the European Union will surely welcome Victoria as one of their own

Isn’t forced unionisation of volunteers an oxymoron?

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If you ever wanted to understand the depths to which the Daniel Andrews government in Victoria will plunge look no further than its plan to unionise the volunteer Country Fire Authority (CFA). Victoria had some of the worst bushfires in 2009 and it was contained in the end with a lot of help from the selfless actions of the CFA.

The whole point of volunteering is in the word – it is done without pay. It is done for the spirit of the community they represent. Never is a heart truer than that of a volunteer yet the Andrew’s government seems keen to want to reward the hard-left fire fighting union to give them larger control of the CFA. For all of his other ridiculous left leaning policies (Safe Schools etc) you have to wonder but it exposes another serious flaw in today’s politicians – the idea of social media ‘likes’ carrying some sort of endorsement. See the below.

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Daniel Andrews champions that he has 200,000 likes, twice as many as Mike Baird in New South Wales and the completely worthless boast that Mike Baird gets no ‘Likes’ after 10pm. There are 5.8mn Victorians. We cannot even be sure that all 200,000 likes came from Victoria so even if it were true that’s is 3.4% of the Vic population. So 96.6% of the population may not agree with you. Even if we were to use the 14 million people in Australia with Facebook who could ‘Like’ your page, then it’s only 1.4%. Statistically a pathetic number.

To put a grip on this idea that social media is a useful political tool, do you remember the “#bringbackourgirls” Twitter hashtag of Michelle Obama several years ago when Boko Haram kidnapped 276 school girls? It might have got 10s or 100,000s of likes but those school girls are still slaves. It was nothing more than appearing to good rather than doing good. I would prefer the political classes got off social media and focused on things that people may ‘dislike’ because it is absolutely necessary rather than focus on their own vanity to a legion of people that confirm their own bias.