Fairfield is joining a growing number of fire departments in giving more protection to firefighters as their role in handling shooting incidents increases.
Firefighters will soon begin wearing bulletproof vests on calls in which first responders are at risk during shootings and other dangerous situations. Crews are expected to begin wearing the vests within the next four weeks, as soon as a department policy is in place for their use, said Battalion Chief Matt Luckenbach.
“We’re not going to have to use them very often,” Luckenbach said. “For sure during any stabbing, shooting or call…. Where anyone’s indicated they want to hurt themselves.”
Fairfield’s vests weigh up to 30 pounds and won’t be worn with the turnouts crews wear to battle blazes, Luckenbach added.
Fire Department commanders began considering buying vests after seeing firefighters put in harm’s way during violent protests across the country, Luckenbach said.
“Our role has increased significantly into scenes that are ‘secure,'” Luckenbach said. “When law enforcement goes in … nowadays it’s kind of working right on their heels.”
“We started off last year with some shootings and there was a lot of shootings in a short time,” added City Councilwoman Catherine Moy. “They’re first responders, and it’s something that’s way overdue.”
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