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  • Bulletproof Vests

    How many departments out there prior to the WTC bombing, carried bulletproof vests on their ambulances or other fire apparatus? What is your policy regarding their use(i.e. do you wear them all the time or just on certain calls). If your department used to carry them but pulled them from the rigs, why did this happen?

  • #2
    I asked the chief about this a while ago and the response I got was..." If you need a bulletproof vest at a scene you shouldnt be there. Let the police secure the scene then go in." Havent suggested it again even though I can think of a few circumstances where police wouldnt necessarily be requested to secure a scene until after we arrived.
    But to answer your question no we have never carried bulletproof vests on our apparatus. Probably wont unless things get really bad out there.
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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    • #3
      We carry them but, like Lewiston2Capt we also wait for PD, haven't needed them yet.

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      • #4
        My agency is a public safety department. We function as fire/rescue as well as law enforcement. We are required to wear our vests at all times while on patrol, unless we have a fire call. The vest are EXTREMELY hot in the summer and hinder movement. I agree with staying out if you aren't law enforcement. One good virtue of a vest is that it can protect you in a motor vehicle accident, but, other then that, it isn't worth the hassle.
        Bless all of our Fallen Brothers and Sisters. You will not be forgotten

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        • #5
          "Waiting until law enforcement gets there" is faulty logic. The vest provides a level of protection that cannot wait once you need it. The vest will provide protection not only against firearms, but also edged weapons as well. Only a moron would go into an unsecured scene where shots are being fired. What about the scene where you are on the fourth floor of an apartment building and some skel jumps out at you from a doorway and tries to rob you at knifepoint? Do you retreat to the bus and await law enforcement? You might be lucky enough to make it, but you are more likely going to get stabbed. What about the addict who breaks into your EMS garage while you and your partner are sleeping to steal narcs? He has a gun and is desperate enough to use it. Do you get up and run outside to await the cops? You might make it, but you are more than likely going to be shot at. These are not fairy tales, they are incidents which have occurred in North Jersey.

          I have heard all the ridiculous arguments about a false sense of security and a "superman" syndrome. It's all nonsense. You wear your seatbelt because it increases your level of safety. You don't snap it up and then drive 150 MPH do you? It's the same thing.

          I am a law enforcement officer. I also rode an urban EMS unit part-time for four years. Every second of every tour I rode I wore a vest. I knew what could happen when you are not expecting it.
          PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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          • #6
            This discussion is totally based on the demographics of the area you serve...having been a cop in a rough area I think every responder should wear a vest. The area i am in now I dont even think about it. We simply can not spend money on every single event. My Dept does not have Haz-Mat shouldnt we spend the money on that first....again depends on demographics...Stay Safe

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            • #7
              a vest is a good thing,,,

              I live in upper middle class part of the hood avg. price for a house is about 300k, But last week changed all the rules 3 of the terrorist lived a block or two from my station, and as per the FBI warning we got re; Fire/resque trucks were wanted for bombs... just call (911) for bs wires down and steel a fire truck.

              I have learned that there are some firefighters that carry guns in other depts.

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              • #8
                fdny-ems institued vests about a year ago.

                teus. 9-11, know where mine was . . . . in my locker. i raced to the station, got dressed in 5 seconds, grabbed my sh*t, commendeared (i.e. stole a bus), and headed into what was soon to be know as ground zero (actually about 3-5 blocks away from it). it was the furthest thing from my mind that morning. by the time my unit got through all the f'n traffic, and into lower mn., both towers were now on the ground. and I couldn't even comprehend what was going on.

                bottom line, i should of atleast taken the extra sec.'s and grabbed it, and through it in an compartment.

                now, not a day goes by where I don't have it atleast on the bus w/ me. it stayed in my locker for months . . . till this month.

                be safe brothers!
                May God bless all the people and families who have lost
                their lives on 9-11-01, to those also lost on Flight 587, and to the rescuers who responded to both.

                "I'm not saying it's right, i'm just saying (the way it is)."

                FDNY-EMS - Still New York's Best!

                e-mail always accepted @
                [email protected]

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                • #9
                  George - I recall reading and being told that a standard vest isn't necessarily good against an edged weapon. That there are vests for officers or personnel who will be in areas where blades may be prevalent, but that the average vest isn't blade resistant. I don't remember if they make vests that are good against both or not. (I thought that they were good against one or the other...)
                  OTOH, I have a vest that I keep with me in my gear bag that I was given when I first started working for Uncle, and they let me keep it. Don't have occasion to wear it often, but it's comforting to slip on under the coat if we're going on a medical to the "hood" area of our first due.....
                  HazMat
                  ---
                  We gotta be nuts...we're running in when the rats & roaches are running out!

                  Let No Victim's Ghost Say That We Didn't Try
                  ---
                  Disclaimer:
                  These are my opinions, and only mine, and do not reflect the views of my department.

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                  • #10
                    I've heard of a lot of states who have tossed around the idea of requiring vests on EMS and Fire. Personally, I like the idea, even though I've never even heard of a department within 100 miles that issues them. Too many scenes out there that we don't call PD to because it sounds like a simple chest pain or whatever. I've had my share of scenes that took a suprise turn and got out of control in a hurry.
                    Also have to take in account an incident such as that in Memphis a few years ago. How soon we forget...

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                    • #11
                      Vests are made to different threat levels. The higher threat level vests will obviously do better. The lower threat level vests may be cut, but it is stll better than nothing.

                      If your vest is over ten years old and has not been maintained (cleaned, dried, aired out, etc.) throw it away. It may not be in serviceable condition.
                      PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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                      • #12
                        Some vests can protect against edged weapons. They are EXTREMELY heavy and are usually used by corrections folks (bless them, couldn't do their job). As for wearing a vest on duty, I believe that it is a decision that can only be made by the individual. They have benefits and draw-backs like everything else. Certainly in this day and age, we can't be too careful. We rescuers are now targets. I say be aware and if a vest saves you, it is worth the investment.

                        Stay safe.
                        Bless all of our Fallen Brothers and Sisters. You will not be forgotten

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                        • #13
                          Ok wear a vest along with bunkers?NOT! You think we have heat stress now Oy vey.No cops on simple chest pain calls?Man we get 2 on EVERY medical call in my area.Slow nights we can have up to 4.Last night we had a Jerry Springer type call.Teens drinking and the like a total of 5 cops two buses and about 6 firefighters.The only ones in vests are the cops.
                          Yes the terror attack makes us think but are you guys going to force everyone to get vest's?After that how about gas masks?MOPP suits?where do you want to stop?
                          If you are not getting police protection even at the "routine'calls(NO SUCH THING AS ROUTINE NOW OR IN THE PAST!!!)then its your own damn fault.Sorry but if you have the tools,use them.
                          And the waiting till law enforcement gets there is faulty logic line makes me wonder.It is our SOP that we do not go even to within a block till PD is on scene and it is SECURE!I dont care if it is a sweet little old lady she may have a family member that is out of his mind with grief or fear.I am going home at the end of the call with 20 digits two eyes a nose and all my usually jovial attitude.Remember the book says your safety comes before the PT's safety.(Yes I know sometimes we bend that rule)

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                          • #14
                            I've never worn one (IN EMS), and probably like most things if a MEDIC or BASIC feels they need one. Then HEY get one and wear. Now in larger cities they SHOULD be issued. Scene "SAFETY" is our motto; although if the police are on scene or not, there can always be suprises.

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