LAVERGNE, Tenn. (WKRN) — On Thursday, the La Vergne Fire Rescue Department unveiled its new bulletproof vests and helmets.
The gear was purchased with grants, totaling about $60,000.
Commander Marcus Harney says stories from across the country illustrate the dangers that firefighters face.
“One instance, a man set his house on fire and then he got on top of the roof and started shooting firemen.”
Chief Chris Clark added, “People have to understand that we respond to all types of emergencies.”
The protective gear is the first of its kind for the department, representing a new reality for many,
“Hopefully we won’t never have to use these in an instance where somebody is trying to attack us, shoot us or stab us,” said Harney
Clarks said the gear will also improve response times.
“Used to, we’d have to stay for many minutes even up to hours on a standby – waiting for law enforcement to clear it. (Now) we can actually make entry, take care of the patient and get out.”
The gear has a metal plate on the front and back, and pouch for medical equipment. It’s also labeled “Fire/Rescue”.
“The number one goal here is the health and safety of our firefighters, and in turn, we can save lives,” said Clark.