To Serve and Protect

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We were watching tv last night and watched 2 different shows completely irrelevant to each other. One was a police reality show and the other was a medical show. For the police one as the “head” guy was giving out the orders of the shift one of the officers jokingly says “if we get the bad guys tonight they better give up right off the bat cause I don’t want to run”. He was very overweight. Of course the bad guy bolts and they chase. The 2nd officer got him down and the 1st officer is just wheezing with his hands on his knees then breathless tells his partner “I told you I didn’t want to run” and everyone laughs thinking this is a big joke.

The 2nd show was emergency personnel on real calls and this particualr scene were paramedics rushing to save someone in a car accident. One of the paramedics was also very overweight and as she is trying to move the passenger out of the car she can barely get her arms around the victim then when she is doing CPR she was just huffing and puffing. Good CPR practice :(

My question is … should emergency personnel be expected to be in top physical condition? I mean if you lived on the 10th floor of a high rise and you have to evacuate due to a fire but you are disabled or are injured wouldn’t it be understood that the firemen will actually be able to climb those 10 flights to get you? If I have just been attacked wouldn’t it be understood that the cops would be able to chase and apprehend the bad guy without first needing medical attention themselves?

If my husband just had a heart attack and is needing CPR from the paramedics shouldn’t I be able to expect that the attendant be able to do this without needing a break from the exertion? I know that Human Rights disallows all forms of discrimination from age, sex, race, creed, size etc but should some jobs be mandatory that they are physically fit?

14 thoughts on “To Serve and Protect

  1. You know, I feel they should be fit, and should pass a physical test that proves it (weight doesn’t need to be a certain requirement if they are overweight but still fit) if it involves saving a life (either of a fellow worker or a person in danger).

  2. I’ll take an overweight paramedic over no paramedic any day.

    There’s already a shortage of people going into these lines of work. As much as I’d like high quality people filling these positions, I would just as soon see them filled first;|C||hen we can get those folks in shape, perhaps.

  3. From my own personal observation, I’d say that the paramedics we have around here ARE fit.

    And I believe there is some regulation as to how fit they have to be (but I’m not sure why I believe this).

    And remember, it’s possible fat characters on TV are created to relate well with people in the ever-enlarging obesity population of the US.

  4. I think they might have to put up with fat staff. Are these jobs popular, now you’ve got all the bureaucracy on top of the long hours and dangers attached?

  5. Tiger I don’t think it is bureaucracy at all here at work. Part of the requirements of these jobs is to serve and protect, save lives when necessary etc… I am wondering how they can do this when they can’t run without keeling over from exertion, or can’t do CPR because they have no breath in them. When I used to work as a nurse we carried pagers.. if we were in the cafeteria during a break and a CODE BLUE went off on our pagers it meant get your butt back to your floor, we were never allowed to take the elevator up, we had to run up all flights of stairs. Little hard to do your duties that come with resuscitation when you are still in the stairwell of the 2nd floor and your patient is on the 6th

  6. Hmmm…

    The fact that staff on break would still be responsible for patient care on their unit is a bit more worrisome to me than the weight of my health care provider.

  7. I agree 100% with the concept but unfortunately it causes more problems. Eventually other companies will take off on the concept and apply it to their own fat employees using the logic “fat people dont make sales” or “fat people call in sick too often” etc. Its a slippery slope, but in a vacuum you are 100% right.

  8. Kiss My A__!

    I myself have been a volunteer EMS operator and I am currently a volunteer Firefighter. Oh, by the way, did I
    mention I also weigh about 270lbs and I am out of shape. That does not stop me from risking my health and life from at least trying to help someone in need. Anyone who puts someone else before themselves is a step above anyone who would complain about what the person helping them looks like or thier physical condition. I hope someone you love dies needlessly while a “FAT” paramedic or a “OBESE” firefighter stands by and has a doughnut…….breathing heavily!

  9. Oh boy, glad you aren’t an EMS in our city. With an attitude like that “hope someone you love dies needlessly” it sure sounds like you don’t have the caring and selfless attitude necessary to save a person who is in need.

    Having suffered from being overweight and out of shape in the past (and I weighed more than you did), I am glad for my sake, and for my children’s sake that I took my health under control and did what needed to be done to get in good shape and good health. As I said, weight doesn’t need to be an issue if the person is in shape, but in a physically demanding field, it’s important to do the best one can. I am a Nutritional Consultant, and being in this field, decided I needed to practice what I preach. It’s not a matter of what they look like, it’s a matter of being able to do the job that is required and taking care of MY health.

  10. whoooaa Ritch that was uncalled for.. wishing someone I love to die needlessly is cruel and uncalled for.It is cruel for my family members reading this as they know I am dealing with Cancer. You could weigh “normal” weight and still be out of shape.. but there is NO WAY you can be obese and be “in shape”. I am not denying that anyone that is out of shape is doing their best in their jobs (no I am talking just about jobs from my original comment not from sales etc) BUT… having said that… doing your best but not being able to get to the 10th floor because your can’t move another step or you can’t do CPR more then 2 minutes as you don’t have a breath left in you.. it might be your best but is it the best that you COULD be if you WERE in shape? Yes you are risking your health and life as an Volunteer firefighter but are you risking the patients as well?

    Not once did I say that obese rescue workers do nothing but stand around eating donuts.



    The fact that staff on break would still be responsible for patient care on their unit is a bit more worrisome to me than the weight of my health care provider.

    welcome to the real world of lack of nursing staff

  11. “welcome to the real world of lack of nursing staff”

    Which is beside the point, no?
    This is an entirely different argument all together.

    Staff fitness would not be as much of an issue if they were not required to sprint back to their units.

  12. Well, I myself have been trained in CPR and other emergency medical proceedures, only at the age of fourteen, many of which I have had to perform in emergency situations, at school, anywhere really.

    I’m also over weight, but does that stop me? LOL no. Might I add, these casualties all survived with the exception of one, who looked like a gonner in the first place, he was announced dead on scene.

  13. Jack

    It’s not a matter of merely being overweight. You can be overweight and in shape. It’s being in shape that is important to handle the strenuous work required.

  14. Good point noted there, there is nothing worse than a physically incapable person in charge of a serious or emergency situation. They should all be in a good shape.

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