'Tactical Paramedics' could be armed in Tuscaloosa - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

'Tactical Paramedics' could be armed in Tuscaloosa

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TUSCALOOSA - AL -

     When the shooter opened fire, hitting 17 people at the Copper Top bar last July, as always Tuscaloosa Paramedics had to wait a moment before going in."...on the perimeter, the patients that were injured would have to remain untreated until police officers could secure the scene,"says Fire and Rescue Chief Alan Martin.

     During a legislative breakfast unveiling the city's wish list, Martin asked lawmakers to give paramedics permission to carry guns into active shooting situations.  "Our paramedics that would be going in with the police could protect themselves," he said.

     Tuscaloosa leaders say it also means help could get to potential victims much faster.  Six city paramedics currently have tactical training skills with police.  But, since they can not carry a weapon, they're not part of what's called entry teams.  Given school shootings across the country, some people don't mind 'armed paramedics. "I think they should be given immunity like police because if it happened to one of my kids I would want to know they were able to be taken care of quicker," says Latisha Dalton.

     Martin added, "All of the paramedics would have to still go through A-Post training and certification.  It would be certification that's not equivalent to certification of Police officers but yet certification to assure they have the ability to carry the firearm"

     "I'm a firm believer in the second amendment and my rights to bear arms and paramedics should have the right to be safe," said Holly Poole.

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