MP Peter Julian Tables Bill to add Penalties against Violence to Firefighters and Paramedics
Increasingly, firefighters and paramedics are having to deal with violence on the job. Across the country, they face knife- and sometimes gun-wielding people and those who are just plain aggressive.
Peter Julian, Member of Parliament for NewWestminster – Burnaby, BC, tabled a bill this past June in the House of Commons to create some deterrence to these dangerous episodes.
In this video, Peter meets with Brad Davie, the deputy fire chief of New Westminster to find out the situation on the ground. Brad said that firefighters have come across one person who had a gun, who they had to wrestle to the ground. Knife-wielding individuals at call-ins for medical distress are not uncommon.
Firefighters are often the first people to arrive at a scene to help people. Brad says that they are not really prepared for the violence, although they are undertaking training for everyone. It also requires that one of their personnel be available to keep an eye on the scene for safety reasons, rather than directly helping people in distress.
Peter Julian says that the bill came out of the annual lobby by the International Association of firefighters at Parliament Hill in the spring. The bill, C-345, would make it so that any attacker would be hit with the full force of the law, as are police officers.
“When this bill passes, it will be a welcome addition to firefighters everywhere and it will be celebrated”, said Brad. No doubt, paramedics will be happy about it too.
P.S. If you stay right to the end, after the credits, you will see Peter Julian's first attempt at going down a fire pole – apparently one of those things on his bucket list. We're glad you survived, Peter.