After purchasing the gear using grant money, the district now has a policy in place on when to use the new vests, like whenever there might be a knife or a gun at the scene.
“That’s not specifically because of one thing,” Beach said. “It’s because of the culmination of all these different types of scenarios we can get into, whether it’s a school shooting or a mass shooting, domestic violence, overdoses and that’s just another level of protection for all the firefighters.”
Firefighters said years ago they didn’t expect to wear this gear, but that it’s the reality of this day and age.
Giving firefighters and paramedics bulletproof vests has been a trend all over the country in recent years.
A memo from FEMA dated April 2014 recommended all emergency responders have protective ballistic equipment for when they go into the “warm zone” or areas that “can be considered clear but not secure.”
By wearing the protective equipment, it allows first responders to “treat and evacuate victims located within or near an active shooter/mass casualty incident area.”
“It’s just a different mindset,” said Beach. “Some would say it’s sad and I wouldn’t dispute that, but you have to keep going. I can’t not keep going as far as the job is concerned.”