(AUGUSTA,GA) Firefighters will still have their protective jacket and pants, boots and helmets but the fire chief believes fire crews should also have bullet proof vests as part of their gear.
“In the country as of late we have active shooter situations throughout the country and this is just us preparing for that type of event here,” says Fire Chief Chris James.
The chief is requesting permission to buy 35 bullet proof vests, not for fire fighters to wear to battling blazes but as protection in the event of an active shooter in a building somewhere in Augusta.
“This is equipment to get us prepared for that,” said James.
Under current policy fire fighters and would not enter a shooting scene until after the building has been secured by law enforcement equipped with a vest they could follow closely behind law enforcement and that could save lives .
“While they’re still trying to clear the other side of the building firefighters go in and start extracting people out of the building and getting them to EMS so they don’t lay there and bleed out in preparing for that we have to make sure the firefighters are safe,” said Chief James.
Commissioners will have to okay the plan at a cost of 40 thousand dollars.
“I do think it’s something we have to think about at one point I would have been saying no but at this point with people doing all the crazy stuff they’re doing I just don’t know,” said Commissioner Marion Williams.
The Chief says if commissioners approve the vests two or three different sized ones would be assigned to different fire stations across the city, he says plans call for fire fighters to train with Sheriff’s deputies later this summer.