Detroit EMT talks about recent attack on the job, says more public security is needed

Posted at 10:24 PM, Apr 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-08 22:34:32-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — EMT’s have been under attack, and their job is to try and save lives, not have their lives put in danger.

Joshua Bradley is an EMT for the city of Detroit. He says after he was attacked over the weekend he’s now concerned for his life and the lives of other EMT's. He says more needs to be done to make sure his life and others won’t be put in harm so they can do their job.

"It’s scary for sure," Bradley said. "You’re trying to get home to your family, you’re trying to do your job, you're trying to help people."

Responding to emergency calls isn’t supposed to be dangerous for those going to help.

"You have to be prepared for any situation," Bradley said.

He and his partner were responding to an emergency call Saturday of a potential pedestrian hit by a car on McNicols and Prest on the city's west side. When they arrived, they were flagged into a liquor store parking lot where the victim was.

"We pulled in (and) noticed the person obviously in distress," he said.

Bradley says he saw two people fighting. The two EMT's went into a defensive mode, trying to get to the victim and leave the scene immediately, but it didn’t turn out that way.

"(We) went from trying to help this person who was a companion of his somehow to now I’m in a fight with him," Bradley said.

He added that one of the men fighting then jumped into the ambulance. Bradley managed to pull him out and get back in the ambulance himself, then he was assaulted again.

"He pulled my door open, punched me one more time in the face," Bradley said.

This attack is just another in several attacks on EMT’s. Just recently a patient attacked paramedics and stole their ambulance before police were eventually able to stop it. Bill Harp, vice president of Detroit’s Firefighters Association says these incidents can be fixed.

"We’d like to have a police car assigned to public safety in each precinct," Harp said. "In saying that, a public safety car available with two officers."

Detroit’s Assistant Superintendent of EMS Joe Barney says he knows what it’s like to face this type of violence and implemented training programs.

"You can never tell when somebody is going to attack you," Barney said. "That’s why you have to have situational awareness. It’s not necessarily more staffing. We’ve had people getting assaulted for years."

Joshua says more EMT’s are needed. He loves his job but is hoping something will eventually change.

"It’s a little bit of stress but we have a job to do and we’ll get back out there and do it," he said.

The city says an increase in staffing is coming but not at the level the union is calling for.