Firefighters wearing bullet proof vests on violent scenes

Local News

            Firefighters across the country are increasingly in the line of fire when responding to calls; they’re putting their lives in danger. Roanoke firefighters will now wear bullet proof vests when on the scene of violent calls. “Right now we have 10 sets,” says Fire Chief, David Hoback. “We put them on our EMS operations vehicle who is deployed on an acts of violence call.”

Firefighters strapped them on for the first time during the Freight Car America shooting last week. Essentially, they allow first responders to get to victims who have been injured by an active shooter in a more efficient manner. “Nationally we’ve seen a huge trend of acts of violence where we’ve had a large number of casualties,” said First Lieutenant Jason Crouch. “And people are dying from wounds that are easily treatable.”

According to Chief Hoback, the police department will help escort Firefighter paramedics and EMTs into the scene. “We can triage those who are wounded,” said Chief Hoback. “Determine whose still alive versus who is not, and then start care, and extract those individuals out to a safe area where we can start treatment and transport them to a hospital.”

During the Freight Car America shooting, first responders were by patients’ sides just eight minutes after receiving the call. “and from there,” said Chief Hoback. “We had them transported off the scene in another 20 minutes and that’s phenomenal. That’s what it’s all about.”

Each firefighter has to go through a four hour basic training course.
Firefighters will work with Roanoke police officers, completing mock training drills in case of active shooter situations.

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