Does your FD have ballistic protection?

Discussion in 'Firefighter/EMS Talk' started by Tvov, Nov 24, 2019.

  1. Tvov

    Tvov

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    Just curious about fire departments that have ballistic vests and helmets. My town was going to get that gear for the FD and ambulance (medical is separate from FD) after Sandy Hook happened. It has been years, the hype has died down, and now the town hall and especially the police chief don't want to provide it anymore. (side note - my FD does not get along great with the PD chief, unfortunately).

    We are thinking of doing fund raising to get the gear. Not enough for everyone, just 3 sets for the FD and 3 sets for the ambulance. We are going back and forth on how to do the fund raising - kind of odd to ask for that type of gear from the taxpayers due to the reason to get it... school shootings primarily.

    My understanding is that larger, city fire departments many times already have this gear. Anyone else in a small town, volunteer fire department who has this equipment? What was your experience in getting it?
     
  2. Fyrfytr998

    Fyrfytr998

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    My department has discussed it, but it never went anywhere. We have done some active shooter training, but all our SOP’s wouldn’t have us doing much until the situation was controlled by the PD.
     

  3. Tvov

    Tvov

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    Yes, but... a lot of SOPs changed after Columbine (police go in right away now), and then Sandy Hook... now everyone is pushing for medics / emts to go in right after the police, before the situation is "under control". It was a long time at Sandy Hook before medical people were allowed in - lots of discussion about changing SOPs. I've been to the Sandy Hook Fire Department and met Sandy Hook firefighters - I don't ever want to go through what they experienced, but it is something that may happen.

    My FD's SOPs right now is wait until PD clears the scene for us, but more than a few (myself included) think that should change. Clearing a whole school can take hours depending on the size and layout. With my town, it doesn't help that we don't get along with the Police Chief (of course, from our perspective it is not our fault, but I'm also not blind to "both sides of the story").

    Last thing I, or anyone, wants is for FD and EMS to get in the way of Police at scene. We're still trying to figure it out.
     
  4. Fyrfytr998

    Fyrfytr998

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    Like I said, it was discussed. The logistics of implementing it had too many variables. What seems like a no brainer has deeper levels of red tape that us regular guys don’t see.
     
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  5. ReaPer105

    ReaPer105

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    Our FD does.
    Not sure why since they stage two blocks away from anything that may be remotely a risk of anyone speaking to them in an ugly tone until PD clears the scene.
     
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  6. blkt6

    blkt6

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    We received it about a year ago. Implemented joint training with PD. We will go into the warm zone with police cover. Hot zone would be where shooter is more likely to be or confined and being pursued by fast response lethal PD team. Also active shooter bags loaded with TQ,chest seals, stop bleed. Victims don’t have a lot of time. Have to get in quick.
    I would believe there are a lot grants out there considering these times.
     
  7. blkt6

    blkt6

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    We received it about a year ago. Implemented joint training with PD. We will go into the warm zone with police cover. Hot zone would be where shooter is more likely to be or confined and being pursued by fast response lethal PD team. Also active shooter bags loaded with TQ,chest seals, stop bleed. Victims don’t have a lot of time. Have to get in quick.
    I would believe there are a lot grants out there considering these times.
     
  8. cityborncountrylivin

    cityborncountrylivin

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    When I was a company officer I kept a Kevlar vest in my locker for the driver/MPO/LCC. From what I read the 2 times fd had been shot it was the driver. I wouldn’t wear one unless all my crew had one, but the driver was often alone, and if he got hit while we were responding the company and rig could be lost
     
  9. Quickling

    Quickling

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    They put carriers with steel lvl III rifle plates on our ambulances, but nobody ever wears them. They are stupid heavy and we don't go on a violence scene until its clear. During the last year, while I was on duty, I have heard around a dozen weapons related dispatches in the county. Our vests are supposed to be for those times, but to me that is when we don't need them. We are staged until PD secures the weapons.

    That said, a shooting isn't a shooting until it is, and I know that we are more likely to need our vests for a call when PD isn't on the scene at all. In the last year we have had a 3 or 4 attacks on EMS in my region that occurred during dispatches for normal medical calls, no PD or FD on scene with us.

    I ended up buying my own soft vest so that I would have protection light enough to want to wear during normal calls when we don't have PD around.

    My biggest fear is grandpa's shotgun at 4am because he heard me crawling through his window when we got dispatched for "medical alarm, no pt contact".
     
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  10. pgg00

    pgg00

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    Our local FD has plate carriers and helmets for active shooter situations. They train regularly with us to go into warm zones. Officers get assigned to them as a team and they go in. Those officers stay with them the entire time and bring them out as well.
     
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  11. M7425

    M7425

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    Plate armor is more universal across multiple wearers than Kevlar or other “soft armor” vests.

    The former are inserted into carriers and the straps to need to be adjusted to the individual. As others have mentioned, this is resistant to higher velocity projectiles but is heavier.

    The latter is measured/cut to an individual and is generally only provided to someone else if the same size. This is lighter and more flexible but is generally used to defend against rounds fired from handguns.

    I would advocate that you also carefully consider the application of care in a threat environment. It is very different than the more typical EMS run.
     
  12. Cool Hand Hodge

    Cool Hand Hodge Senior Member

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    To answer your question...NO. Nor do any neighboring or mutual aid departments.
     
  13. Nutty Professor 188

    Nutty Professor 188 Patrol Corporal

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    Our fire department has heavy armor and Kevlar helmets.
     
  14. Tvov

    Tvov

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    Well, we still don't have it. It has been 5 months since I posted this, and months before that when the powers-that-be started discussing it.

    As with anything, it will take forever.
     
  15. seagravedriver

    seagravedriver

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    We have had level 3 and helmets for a couple of years now. While we wait for PD, we have it, well, in case. I would like to have one of the outer vests with a zipper and such, such as the types PD wears with their gear on it.
     
  16. Garweh

    Garweh CLM

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    Buying my own level 3A soft armor. I am part of our department’s “fire police” squad; unarmed (currently) NYS peace officers when at a scene. Mostly traffic control and securing the scene; defer to the local PD, Sheriff’s Office and NYSP when on scene but they do rely on us for extra hands. Some drivers are absolute a**holes and they try to intimidate us. Will feel better with some ballistic protection.