EMS workers in Santa Barbara County learn to handle threatening situations

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American Medical Response of Santa Barbara County held a training Wednesday in Buellton to ensure EMS workers are adequately prepared to deal with a variety of situations.

AMR will be hosting a number of training classes in August to ensure paramedics and EMTs know how to handle situations including as workplace violence, combative patient management and even active shooter scenarios.

"It starts off with a lecture for an hour, goes over all the methodologies, over all the techniques, and then goes over some scenarios," said Dustin Blom, Clinical Manager for AMR of Santa Barbara County. "(We) play lots of videos of incidents that have been caught all over the country where it has happened in and out of the hospital where patients have attacked and what we can do until law enforcement can get there because we are not law enforcement."

Blom said AMR is facilitating these classes across the county and making them mandatory for all employees.

"It is pretty crucial to what we do because a lot of times we deal with patients that are very unpredictable and they can be aggressive, very violent, which puts our lives personally at risk," said Paramedic Yesenia Hughes. "At the end of the day, we want to go home, so it gives us a way to protect and defend ourselves and de-escalate a situation before it gets to a bad place for us."

Hughes said these trainings are vitally important for first responders, but says she hopes she can apply and put into practice what she has learned out in the field.

Hughes who was also at the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas said it is also very important to always be aware and alert of your surroundings and that reading things such as body language can be a good indicator if someone might have aggressive tendencies.