EMS making changes to protect workers at dangerous scenes

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SURRY COUNTY, N.C. -- Emergency Management Services Director John Shelton says, now more than ever, he wants his workers to think about safety every time they're in the field.

After recent shootings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Shelton says the department will be making some changes to protect EMS workers that often accompany police at dangerous scenes.

"We've all got to train more,” Shelton said. “We've all got to be more alert. We've all got to be aware that this could happen and we've got to be prepared to manage it when it does."

Surry County EMS will now be adding situational awareness training to monthly employee meetings.

All field workers will be trained to remove and treat patients during active shooter scenarios; training that was only required for medic teams that train with police, according to Shelton.

"We're prepared to handle it when it happens and that is the direction that we're going to take," Shelton said.

All Surry County EMS workers now have bulletproof vests that are kept on ambulances.

The Madison-Rockingham Rescue Squad is also making safety changes.

The squad will request a budget for bulletproof vests in October.

"I don't think anyone in public safety now is safe from that happening," Shelton said.