Crawford County EMS personnel will be better able to protect themselves after finishing a two-day self-defense course.

The first day of the 16-hour course was Monday at EMS Station #2 in Frontenac, The aim is to prepare personnel to control violent situations as well as protect themselves and patients.

The course is taught by Captain Brett Peine of Crawford County EMS and is split between the classroom and time to work through drills. Along with self defense tactics, personnel are taught de-escalation strategies.

The training, which continues today, focuses on good customer service and verbal communication before physical contact.

“In healthcare, we have to determine ‘is this person a patient or an attacker?’” Peine said.

Peine worked in 10 years in law enforcement before coming to Crawford County EMS in 2008. He has taught this course many times at Missouri Southern State University, but said this is the first time the entire Crawford County staff will be getting the training.

By finishing the training, Crawford County EMS will obtain certification in self defense for two years and then have to recertify. Peine said it is important to know how to protect yourself and your patients.

“Fifty-two percent of EMS personnel have reported being assaulted, and those are only the ones who reported it,” Peine said. “I was assaulted three times and never reported it.”

Effective July 1, a new law will go into effect in Kansas allowing any public employee to carry a concealed firearm. Peine said with the new law, self defense training is very important now.

“We want to be proactive and give our personnel the tools to recognize and deal with an assault that doesn’t require deadly force,” Peine said. “Like if a person spits on them, punches them, grabs them, we want them to have the tools to handle the situation properly.”

— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at choener@morningsun.net or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.