Saturday, May 27, 2017

Ballistic Helmets and Vests for fire depts??? This is the latest trend for first responders!

Thanks to Jonathan for the link!

via ChelseaRecord.
The Chelsea Fire Department union is calling on the City and Fire Chief Len Albanese to immediately outfit the members of its union with ballistic helmets recommended by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the wake of the active shooter incident on Warren Avenue.

President Anthony Salvucci said the union, Fire Chief and City Manager Tom Ambrosino have been in discussions over the past several weeks to get funding for the new ballistic helmets, which would have protected the heads of firefighters as they moved in.

So far, Salvucci said the City has deferred on the expense, and want to include it in next year’s budget. According to Salvucci, that is no long acceptable.

“We sat down with Tom and the Chief and they said, ‘When will we ever use this,’” said Salvucci. “Well, here we are two weeks later. At the end of the day, we want what’s best for the community. We’re not looking to stop this or to stop any training or drills, but we want what is best practice. We want the equipment that is recommended by DHS. We’re not opposed to this. This is a very real thing. The world is changing and we want to change with it.”

Already, the City has invested recently in some active shooter training and in ballistic vests, which Chief Albanese said were actually put on the apparatus earlier this month.

The time for those vests was perfect.

“We trained with them through the month of April and put them on the apparatus May 5, and now here we are already using them,” he said, noting that grant money paid for the vests.

The training that was recently engaged in included tactical training to prevent hemorrhage, Warm Zone entry with force protection and command staff coordination.

He said all of those trainings were directly applicable on Monday night.

“Utilizing the training and preparation for Active Shooter incidents, we were able to adapt quickly to this dynamic scene,” he said. “Once the house was heavily involved in fire, our firefighters made a cautious exterior attack, with ballistic protection, under the cover provided by Police and SWAT. The communication between Police and Fire was excellent.”

Salvucci said they agree that the situation played out well, but they also believe that it was a red flag for making sure that the right equipment is in their hands.

He said it would cost about $7,000 to $15,000 to outfit the entire department with ballistic helmets. He pointed to a $34 million Free Cash fund and about $2 million available in the Stabilization Fund.

“When you’re standing next to a SWAT guy and you’re fighting a fire and he’s wearing that helmet, you want to have the same protections that he has in that situation,” he said. “We’re not talking about big money here so I don’t think we should have to wait until the next fiscal budget. You wouldn’t send a firefighter into a burning house with half of his or her equipment.”
Have you been watching this trend?  If not then let me get you up to speed.  A quick Google search reveals that fire depts all across the nation are buying ballistic gear for their firefighters.  Right now its the common combat type stuff but I fully expect that to evolve into traditional firefighter colors so that their will be no confusion between them and police forces.

The reality?

As much as we might not like it, history has proven that this is a needed precaution.  Just a year or so ago firefighters were caught in an ambush setup by an active shooter.

Mobile Acute Care Hospital
In the future we'll probably see a fire being used to lure these guys into a kill zone.

You might think this is overkill but I think its long overdue.

Sidenote:  The next step is to get paramedics and the local trauma hospitals
to get in gear.  They need a tactically trained paramedic that can make entry with SWAT Teams and they need trauma surgeons to be mobile enough to set up a field hospital in the vicinity of an active shooter situation. Something like you see above ... maybe a regional asset...but something that is available if the worst case scenario happens.  That Golden Hour needs to be preserved.  Besides its better to have it and not need than not have it when you need it the most!

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