Paramedic trainees put through real-world drills as Greensboro sees increase in violence-related calls

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Guilford County EMS academy recruits are put through intense, real-world drills which simulate the shocking upward trend of violence-related calls in Greensboro.

In 2021, there have been 16 reported homicides in Greensboro. That is five higher than in 2020 at the same time, which ended with a record-setting 61 homicides.

In 2021, Guilford County EMS crews respond to, on average, one call per day in reference to a stabbing or shooting victim.

In some of these cases, the paramedics are the first on the scene in situations that are tense and high stress.

Sari Goldberg has spent the past 12 years as a paramedic. She said what is being seen on the streets is disturbing.

“For each victim of these crimes, there are families and communities impacted by the loss of that person. But, even if they don’t pass away, their lives are still going to be impacted,” Goldberg said.

Since January, county paramedics have responded to 84 calls to help a shooting or stabbing victim. Most of these calls are in Greensboro.

As these calls trend upward, the training EMTs are put through now has to be very real, and very scary.

Before they can respond to a scene, the Guilford County Paramedic Academy students are put through a series of drills.

For example, one scenario can mimic a person shot at a nightclub.

In a dark room, where the environment mimics a nightclub, with loud music and flashing lights, the paramedics are tasked with treating the “victim” and getting them to safety in a matter of minutes.

“The scenarios that we run in training may seem a bit over the top, and it seems that way. But then you get that call in real life and you think, ‘Oh I’m glad I had that training,’” Goldberg said.

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