Pa. FD will get body armor for calls involving violence

The purchase of the vests comes after the Jeannette Fire Department responded to two fatal shootings in two months


Renatta Signorini
Tribune-Review, Greensburg, Pa.

JEANNETTE, Pa. — Jeannette firefighters are getting body armor to protect them during calls where violence might be a factor, said Fire Chief Bill Frye.

The department is getting 18 vests at $875 each for paid and volunteer firefighters. Frye said the department’s relief association is footing the bill of more than $13,000 for 15 vests for the volunteer firefighters while the city is paying more than $2,600 for the remaining 3 for the full-time, paid firefighters.

The city of Jeannette will buy three body armor vests for full-time, paid firefighters, while the department's relief association will cover the cost of 15 vests for volunteer firefighters. (Photo/City of Jeannette Fire Department)
The city of Jeannette will buy three body armor vests for full-time, paid firefighters, while the department's relief association will cover the cost of 15 vests for volunteer firefighters. (Photo/City of Jeannette Fire Department)

The union has been requesting the protection for the last couple years, Frye said. Firefighters respond to a variety of situations that go beyond a fire, including medical calls and reports of violence.

“We are going into situations where” the immediate circumstances can be unknown, he said.

Those situations recently included two fatal shootings in September and October in the city. In both instances, Frye said, firefighters were on scene rendering aid before the police got there.

Medical calls, including those involving a drug overdose, or domestic situations also can be dangerous, he said. The department responds to about 900 calls annually.

The armor will serve a dual purpose as a utility vest with pockets for gloves and other items. The vests will be ordered soon and will take up to two months to arrive.

“We’re doing it now to be proactive and that’s the world we live in,” Frye said. “You never know what’s going to happen on some of these calls.”

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©2019 Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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