After 2 bad calls this week, I am looking into a vest. I am also looking into if there are grants out ther for Fire and EMS for this. Any help and web sites would be a great help.

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From personal experience I highly recommend wearing a vest if you feel you need it. I work for FDNY and we are all issued them now after a member who had bought his own vest, was basically saved from being stabbed in the chest during a domestic dispute by the chest plate. Whether or not you decide you are going to wear it is pretty much up to you, but you are issued it. After walking by accident into countless drug deals going down in hallways, domestic disputes, shootings, stabbings, EDP's, or whatever other violent acts I have witnessed I personally feel they are very much warranted. Your personal safety comes first and this is just one of the pieces of equipment that can be used.
Due you guys get them from a grant? I have check and can not find one that state Fire and EMS but then again they do not say they wont work with Fire and EMS. We have found that we can order with the P.D and get 10 percent off.
I agree with the both of you...but lets look at it from a liability perspective:

A fire fighter gets themself shot whilst wearing a vest, requiring a fair amount of recovery and PT. The insurance company is going to start asking if the firey was acting according to SOP. If he's wearing a vest, why didn't it protect him? (let's assume a leg shot)...can he show training for working in that type of dangerous situation? When was the last time he renewed his training? Etc, etc.

I have no academic problem with wearing vests. I don't see the local gov. supporting it because it opens a legal can of worms.

If it makes you feel safer, go for it. When I was active in a rough neighbourhood, I never bothered. We had a couple of wHackers come down to ride the ambo and they brought big, orange door-gunner style vests with a reflexite star of life in the middle of it. The universal thought among the boys was "cool, they'll have something to aim at that isn't me!"
Mate if the street is that dangerous, you shouldn't be there! It's not our job to get shot at, even though it happens. For the record, I had no idea the Feds did that. Very interesting, and it sets a legal precedent that may answer a lot of the questions I've posed here.

I'll grant you none of this (care and use) is rocket science, and in a riot, you do what you've got to do (I've never done anything that crazy!) but the liability of one of your guys got shot would be massive!

"Your honour, even though our SOP says we stay out of dangerous situations until the police have secured it, we anticipated the hostiles, equipped our guys with vests, and sent them, essentially untrained, into a combat zone."

Besides, we aren't talking about riot response, we're talking about having them for everyday use. My old department had a team of tactical medics that ran with the SWAT guys, but they had additional training.
We have vest here in ST. Louis. We have 2 on every medic unit. We have 4 on every fire truck. Our pumper just got hit with bullets last month. The local police dept gave us their old ones when they got new ones. U might try that.
Things mentioned in earlier posts.

1. None of these vests are "bullet proof". Resistant, not proof. Semantics, yes, but calling things by the wrong name carries the wrong meaning with it.

2. Ballistic Vests (read 'bullet') are not designed to be resistant to stab attempts. They may well do the job, but they aren't designed for it.

3. Things made with Kevlar (both vests and PPC) break down with exposure to UV. Second hand versions of either may be giving you a feeling of safety which does not exist.
"Back in my day",

Fire/EMS were the good guys. We were not "the man". I've had the dis-pleasure of working in the "barrios" and "wards" and as a general rule, we were safer than law officers. We didn't need to stage for PD. But due to the area I worked, we did wear vests.

Nowdays, any unknown situation is an automatic staging away from the scene until law enforcement clears us in. Anyone in uniform is now a target. However, as some have already pointed out, law enforcement can only do so much. I was on shooting where law enforcement was there in force, and have had a person walk through the crowd and "cap" the patient in the head while we were working on him. People do not value human life anymore. Drugs, alcohol, mental issues, a plain "I don't give a damn" attitude, or a combination, all place us at risk on even the simplest BS call.

Some things to consider before deciding to vest or not. CBz photo shows very clearly some of the problems with wearing a vest. It dosen't matter whether it's worn under a shirt, or outside. There are areas which are not protected, especially under the arms, below the belt, and above the clavicle.

Unless one wears the ballistic panels, ice picks and knives are able to penetrate most vests because they will be able to seperate the weave. There are several manufacturers that dispute this, however these vests are "ballistic" vests made to stop bullets, not small thin low velocity objects such as knives.

Many people are lulled into a false sense of security if you wear a vest. There is ammunition on the market which not only will penetrate the front of the vest, but won't stop until long after it comes out the other side.

There are liability issues as well. If a department does not issue vests, and employee A, purchases their own, the department can be liable if employee B, does not have one and gets injured or killed. As a result, a department could very well prohibit employee A, from wearing theirs.

If we just keep our eyes open, pay attention to our surroundings, and watch each others back, the question of wearing a vest or not wearing one, really becomes one of; should we back out or not?
Just a quick possibly stupid thought, but you'll let me know if it is right? I have read of instances where some of the Leos have taken to raiding crack houses, meth labs,etc. disguised as firefighters to get close carrying ladders and forcible entry tools with out drawing as much attention as they might if they had POLICE blazoned across their chests. Now if some of the less savory crowd starts to identify firefighters as undercover police may be the bullet proof vests might not be such a stretch. Just wondering is all
I have not been able to confirm that Police useing this method but it would not suprise me at all. I too have heard of this practice. As for my local Drug Task Force the commander told me that he does not even allow his S.W.A.T Medic to wear anything that has Medic or EMS on it because he feels it would draw those type of people too target us at the F.D.
This is the news report on one of the calls last week. the only thing that was left out was that the crew only got involved after they to were attacked. the broke nose the patient was treated for was from the Domestic disturbance the Officer was called for first.

Domestic disturbance results in officer’s assault


05/18/10
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A Chicago, Ill. man faces assault charges after a disturbance on May 13, in Fulton.

Fulton Police officers responded to a call of domestic violence on Van Lea Drive in Fulton, and when Officer Doug Love arrived on scene, he discovered the suspect, Markis D. Merrideth, 23, had been assaulted during an earlier altercation.

Officer Love was attempting to investigate the findings of the assault, and requested the assistance of Emergency Medical Technicians to check the condition of Merrideth. When the EMTs arrived, Officer Love said Merrideth kicked the coffee table in anger, and lunged toward him, striking the officer several times with his fist. Merrideth was subdued by EMT Terry Rudolph, Paramedic Kevin Kelly, EMT Stewart Whitman, and Officer Love. He was transported to Parkway Regional Hospital to be treated for a broken nose.

Merrideth was then processed, transported and lodged at the Fulton County Detention Center, and charged with four counts of third degree Assault (one count for the officer and three counts for the EMS staff).

There is no bond information available at this time for Merrideth. Third degree Assault is a Class D Felony punishable from one to five years in the penitentiary.
The body armor must be worn to all shootings, stabbings, assault and domestic-violence cases and to any incident in which violence is possible.
CBz, I was always lead to beleive that vests were useless in knife attacks???
I read S.W.A.T. Magazine and see the different resorces for vest and shields that law enforcement use.

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