COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Columbus City Council has approved a plan to purchase bulletproof vests and bulletproof helmets for the Columbus Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services to use in active shooter circumstances.
“Ultimately, we need to make sure that they’re safe,” says District 10 Councilman John House.
Mayor Skip Henderson says this comes after a request from the Columbus fire chief to provide safer conditions in the most dangerous encounters since fire crews are normally the first on the scene in emergency situations.
“Our fire, folks are trained and want to get to individuals to administer help as quick as they can, but when there’s an active shooter or potential shooter involved, it slows them down. This way, they’re protected as they go about their duties,” explains Henderson.
Assistant Fire Chief Robert Futrell says the funding would come from a $31,000 grant from the Department of Justice, so citizens won’t have to pay for the protective gear. He says normally, medics have to wait until police clear buildings before medics can get to shooting victims.
“With the equipment we requested, it would allow the medics under law enforcement security to get to the victims a lot quicker and provide treatment and hopefully save some lives,” says Futrell.
“We advise them to use care and be careful, but their primary mission is to take care of others and that’s what they do,” says Henderson.
The Columbus Fire Department says when it’s provided the bulletproof vests and helmets, they’ll work with the Columbus Police Department for training with the protective gear.