Why self-defence for emergency workers?
The following information was submitted by Morné Mommsen, regional manager for training at Midvaal Fire and Rescue Services. We also published the comprehensive article in Fire and Rescue International magazine. We urge all chief fire officers, managers and leaders to heed this information and to apply it within your jurisdiction in order to keep our first responders safe while on duty.
“South Africa and other countries promote visual aids trying to stop violence against emergency services but the reality is actually that no one is doing anything about this problem and it really does not make sense, a person with this type of outlook (existentialists believe) in life only objective are to hurt, steal and kill or whatever and it will never change. People will rather take a video of a medic being assaulted or killed because of his/her social craving before attempting to help the emergency worker.”
“Existentialism in the broader sense is a Twentieth Century philosophy that is centred upon the analysis of existence and of the way humans find themselves existing in the world. The notion is that humans exist first and then each individual spends a lifetime changing their essence or nature.”
“In simpler terms, existentialism is a philosophy concerned with finding self and the meaning of life through free will, choice and personal responsibility. The belief is that people are searching to find out whom and what they are throughout life as they make choices based on their experiences, beliefs and outlook. And personal choices become unique without the necessity of an objective form of truth. An existentialist believes that a person should be forced to choose and be responsible without the help of laws, ethnic rules or traditions.”
“Most importantly, it is the arbitrary act that existentialism finds most objectionable, that is, when someone or society tries to impose or demand that their beliefs, values or rules be faithfully accepted and obeyed. Existentialists believe this destroys individualism and makes a person become whatever the people in power desire thus they are dehumanised and reduced to being an object. Existentialism then stresses that a person's judgment is the determining factor for what is to be believed rather than by arbitrary religious or secular world values.”
“Some organisation states that emergency service member needs to carry firearms. As an firearm expert and instructor, the following question comes in mind, how will you be able to protect your firearm if you busy with a patient or standing with a spreader in your hand? Sorry, you can’t protect your firearm and how many of you that do have a firearm, can really use it in a combat situation, meaning physically be able to use it? Many will become an expert with regards to YouTube videos or, as experts, we call them ‘YouTube Warriors’. As an instructor who has been in the martial arts long enough to understand this and who has more than 28 years’ service in the fire department, I feel I should share this.”
“Emergency members need to get regular training in some kind of self defence system. I represent Warrior Combative and Mile High Kickboxing – Shidokan, who specialises in the Krav Maga System, kickboxing and the US National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Self Defence Course designed for the purpose of defending yourself against the reality on the street. It takes hard work and dedication to be able to defend yourself and I can promise you, nothing comes easy but in today's world of mixed martial arts, civilian self-defence courses, military combatives and an overall ‘new’ approach to self-defence by people who ‘think outside the box’, I can tell you, there is much confusion by people new to the martial arts world as to what exactly is the best approach for them. Many seek different things in martial arts, however, one thing they seem to have in common, is self-defence.”
“You need to concentrate on awareness programmes, communication skills, basic stances, target areas, how to plan escape routes, how to control the fight and flight effects and if all fails one-on-one fighting skills, multiple attacker fighting skills, knife fighting skills, firearm skills and so much more and remember, nothing in life is for free or comes easy.”
“On so many occasions training programmes and skills development with regards to self-defence for emergency members was sent and introduced to various departments, entities and everyone always state ‘wow’ or ‘what a good idea’ or ‘we must make this a priority’. For how long do you want to make it a priority and not act or must we wait until the first one is killed or raped or missing?”
“If interested in any form of assistance please contact us via email:
• email@example.com (Gauteng)
• firstname.lastname@example.org (Meyerton)
• email@example.com (Cape Town)”
Please take home this strong message from Mommsen and apply it in your trade and area of jurisdiction.
To all our first responders, stay safe!
Cell: 082 371 0190
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