A recent karate course taken by members of the Sylvania Township Fire Department did not result in anyone getting closer to a black belt, but it is hoped that some methods learned may result in safer outcomes at emergency scenes in the future.

Jeffrey Bennett, interim captain and training officer for the department, said the training was meant to prepare firefighter/paramedics for dealing safely with combative patients.

He said that it is unusual, but not unheard of that when EMTs arrive at a scene an individual may be resistant and sometimes violent.

He noted that the behavior can be brought on by alcohol or other drugs, legal or illegal.  It also can be the result of the individual’s medical condition.

“There may be a type of dementia or some other condition that causes the person to be afraid or confused and act aggressively.  A lot of times if you see them in the hospital later–after their medical needs are met–and they’re fine.”

John Roberts, owner, and instructor at All American Karate, 7601 Sylvania Ave., said the primary purpose of the instruction is to avoid a physical confrontation and allow the first responder an avenue of escape.

“If they get hurt, they likely can’t help the individual,” he said.

Mr. Roberts said he has been certified to train first responders in dealing with aggressive actions.  He said it once was common to just teach them some karate techniques and let them use them in the field as they might. Now, he said, the training is for first responders to defuse the situation and to keep themselves out of a physical confrontation.

The training included how to stand with a non-threatening posture while maintaining a balance that will resist a shove. They were taught the best way to block a punch and other moves, but with an eye always toward getting out of the immediate vicinity.

Capt. Bennett said that once removed from the threat, they are to call for police assistance.

The members of the department were also shown some safe ways to restrain a patient who is already down, but is resisting their efforts to help.

The firefighter/paramedics were split into six groups, with each group getting about 1.5 hours of instruction over three days.

Captain Bennett said those who went through the training said they found it beneficial.

He added that although nothing has been decided, it could be a good idea to take classes there again, perhaps going over some scenarios which weren’t covered in the most recent sessions.


Written by: Mike Jones, Public Information Officer

Posted: September 11, 2020

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