Stabbing attack of Detroit EMTs raise safety questions

Union leaders are speaking out about safety for first responders.

- Detroit emergency medical technicians were attacked on the job helping an injured woman.

The incident is raising new questions about the safety of medical first responders on the streets and what needs to be done to protect the men and women who save our lives. The ambush happened just after midnight Tuesday morning on Third and Martin Luther King in Detroit.

"Police officers are concerned, firefighters are concerned, EMTs are concerned," said Eric Jones, interim executive fire commissioner. "It is dangerous. They go into some dangerous situations."

Kelly Adams, 13 years a Detroit EMT had her face slashed by a man with a box cutter.  Her partner, Alfredo Rojas, two years on the job, was stabbed in his right hand and slashed just below the right eye. The two EMTs were helping a woman, who called for her sore ankle.

Medical first responders are not allowed to have any self-defense items including pepper spray with them. Union leaders are speaking out about safety.

"They are genuinely scare, they are terrified to come to work tonight," said Jeff Gaglio the EMS union chief steward. "We've submitted to them classes we feel our people need as far as cultural awareness, to mitigate situations when they get out of hand," Gaglio said. "We've also submitted, we had an offer for free self-defense training for the entire EMS division and the department said no."

"I hear the concerns, I understand the situation the men and women of the Detroit Fire Department and Detroit EMS are experiencing right now," Jones said. "And I am working aggressively to get them the training and equipment they need."

Mayor Mike Duggan called the incident something no one should have to go through. 

"These folks are out saving our lives," he said. "A routine sore ankle and all of a sudden someone is coming at you with a box cutter, it's a hard thing to live with."

Police are still looking for the suspect. 

"You go home at the end of the day," said Gaglio. "That's the golden rule for police, fire, EMS. You go home at give end of the day."


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