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August 16, 2013

Neb. firefighters, medics train on disarming people with guns

OMAHA, Neb. — Firefighters are learning defensive moves from police so they can protect themselves if they encounter an armed patient. reported that over the next two weeks, all fire and rescue employees will learn how to disarm people who are wielding guns.

Fire officials say it’s necessary in the wake of a shooting of an Omaha firefighter-medic in the back of an ambulance in July, according to the report.

“This specific training is to help firefighters protect themselves if an incident happens fast and police aren't there to help,” Brandon Wilson, a spokesman for the fire department, said. “It should only be used if there is an immediate threat.”

Firefighters went through several defensive tactics to disarm a threatening person and each practiced taking away a fake gun, according to the report.

“I have never experienced training like this in my life,” firefighter Marcus Johnson said. “The incident last month has made everyone more aware and has made us realize we could really use defensive training.”

Johnson said the firefighters should go through defensive training at least twice a year. “I don't think once a year is enough,” he said. “How will we be able to retain it?”