Emergency Medical Service Personnel’s Risk From Violence While Serving the Community [2017]

Objectives. To determine the risks of violence-related injury among emergency medical services (EMS) personnel in the United States.

Methods. We analyzed 1630 violence-related occupational injury cases reported to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for the years 2012 to 2015 and conducted secondary searches within the Bureau of Labor Statistics Web site.

Results. The number of cases per year varied between 250 and 560. Perpetrators included patients (77%) and coworkers (8%). Female EMS personnel had a disproportionately greater risk of violence-related injuries. The most common (35%) injury type was “sprains–strains–tears”; about 4% of the assault cases resulted in fractures, 13% resulted in surface wounds, and 190 were head injuries. About a third of the cases were classified as intentional.

Conclusions. The findings indicate a clear need for reliable interventions. The differences in risk for women indicate that some interventions may need to be demographic-specific. Because of the limitations of national data, future researchers will need access to agency-level data that include hours worked and call volume by demographic factors such as gender.

Brian J. Maguire DrPH, MSA, and Barbara J. O’Neill RN, PhD

American Journal of Public Health, November 2017