Tenn. firefighters prepare for active shooters with ballistic gear

Every La Vergne Fire Department apparatus will now be equipped with ballistic vests and helmets for every firefighter on board

By FireRescue1 Staff

LA VERGNE, Tenn. — A fire department is being equipped with ballistic gear to prepare for active shooters.

WKRN reported that the La Vergne Fire Department will combat the increasing danger of violent scenes with ballistic vests and helmets.

Officials made the decision to equip each apparatus with enough ballistic gear for every firefighter on board after two active shooter incidents occurred less than two miles from La Vergne, including a church shooting that left one dead and a Waffle House shooting that resulted in four deaths.

"We are always on heightened alert whether it's a fire or swift water, this is another type of response that we have to be prepared for, is mass casualty, active shooter events," Assistant Fire Chief Chris Clark said. "The vests consist of plates that will take a rifle round; they're bullet resistant. We also have ballistic helmets in the event that we need to go in and provide rescue during an active shooter situation." 

The vests also give firefighters a place to carry their medical equipment.

"The front of the vest will be totally equipped with a large pouch that will have all of the tactical medic or the medical type of equipment in it," Clark said.

Firefighter Matthew Noe said the vests make him “feel a whole lot safer.”

“This helps protects us and be able to go home every day to our wives and families," he said.

Police Chief Mike Walker said firefighters are an essential addition to active shooter scenes, and they need to be protected while they’re treating victims.

"It's something that firefighters everywhere across this country need in the worse kind of way because you never know,” he said. “What seems like a relatively routine minor call may be somebody calling you there just to have the opportunity for target practice with the first responders that are coming."


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