Those working in the Emergency Medical Services may not realize they need body armor, but in the high-pressure situations regularly faced by the EMS they cannot afford to be concerned about their protection. It is not hard to find reports of attacks on EMS, and these attacks can unfortunately be deadly. While the reality is that violence towards Paramedics and EMTs is not a common occurrence, when dealing with injured, panicked, or possibly intoxicated people, an injury may occur whether accidentally or intentionally.
It is most likely that those in the EMS will need stabproof vests, which will protect against edged weapons. Knives and broken bottles for example are all easily accessible as weapons and can be fatal. Stab vests are lightweight and can be worn without discomfort, even under clothes. However, it is important to note that a stab vest will not protect against spiked attacks from needles for example. A needle may not seem particularly dangerous, but if it were to puncture an artery, or was carrying any sort of virus, it could easily prove fatal. This is why EMS may opt for additional spike protection with their stabproof vest. The words stab and spike are often used interchangeably; for more information on stab and spike protection, see SafeGuard Armor’s Guide to Stab and Spike Protection.
For some EMS, however, knives and needles may not be the most significant threat. It may be that firearms are a real threat to certain Paramedics and EMTs, or they may simply want to have full protection for their own peace of mind. In this case, a bulletproof vest will be necessary. Again, this can be worn underneath a uniform for discretion, but many manufacturers make overt vests with the EMS in mind. These can be made with specific insignia and logos, and the presence of body armor may act as a deterrent to attackers. Of course, it is important to know what threats you may face, particularly with regard to firearms and ammunition, to ensure that you have the right level of protection in your body armor.