After Vegas shooting, should local EMS, firefighters wear bullet-proof gear?

Posted at 10:21 PM, Oct 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-03 22:21:16-04

After firefighters and paramedics responded to the Las Vegas shooting wearing tactical gear to protect themselves, Fox 4 is looking into what agencies here in Southwest Florida have similar equipment.

Law enforcement officers have worn armored vests and bullet-proof helmets for decades. But on the night of the shooting in Las Vegas, firefighters wee among the first responders also wearing the life-saving gear.

Firefighters in St. Lucie County have nine ballistic helmets. Captain William Garrigan said the county bought them after the Pulse night club shooting in Orlando. They also have bullet proof vests and are getting more.

Chief William Schobel in Martin County wants bullet-proof vests on every truck.

"It's unfortunate we have to have this conversation," Schobel said.

In Southwest Florida, tactical gear is being used by some agencies like the South Trail Fire Department in some capacity.

Other agencies like the Punta Gorda Fire Department are discussing the gear.

Some departments like Bonita Springs Fire rescue said they have it in their budget to purchase some gear and are working out the details.

"We would much rather be going into a fire than this kind of situation," Garrigan said.