The Wilmington Fire Department is requesting $12,800 from city council to purchase ballistic vests.
An agreement with the Wilmington Police Department, New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office and local emergency medical technicians (EMTs) requires each entity to acquire vests for their employees.
“Back in 2015, a policy was adopted in the department,” said WFD spokeswoman Natosha Tew. “The multi-agency high threats response plan identified the need of bulletproof vests.”
Deputy Chief Jon Mason said the vests are “strictly for EMS or medical assistance to a shooting or a stabbing incident.” All firefighters are EMTs, said Mason, “so we’ve been responding to gunshot calls, shooting and stabbing accidents.”
According to Tew, fire departments across the country have been taking this step in recent years in light of recent events.