A new Florida law that went into effect on July 1st, gives paramedics and physicians responding to active gunman incidents, hostage situations, narcotics raids, and other situations deemed as high-risk the ability to carry firearms.
The Palm Beach Post reports that the new law applies only to medics serving in special-response situations and that medics will not be armed in their day-to-day duties.
Some local fire-rescue agencies already employ medics who are authorized to carry firearms by way of being sworn law-enforcement officers and say the new law will not change how they respond to calls.
The law defines a tactical medical professional as a paramedic, physician, or osteopathic physician who has been appointed to provide support to a tactical law-enforcement unit.
It requires that those serving as tactical medical professionals be lawfully able to possess firearms, and that they complete firearms safety and tactical training with a law-enforcement agency.
Tara Cardoso, a fire-safety specialist for the department said that Palm Beach County Fire Rescue employs a team of SWAT medics who are also sworn deputies and work under the direction of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office during a SWAT deployment.
Chris Kammel, EMS bureau chief for Martin County Fire Rescue said, “The overall view is we’re Fire Rescue. We have nothing to do with law enforcement. We treat people. We help make the day better versus being armed. That’s why the cops are there. We have plenty of officers here and sheriff’s officers and they do a great job, and they’re the ones that are trained for that.”