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Local News

Joliet equips firefighters with bulletproof vests, helmets

Equipment to protect in event of mass-shooting incident

Joliet firefighters and paramedics are getting ballistic vests and helmets for protection in mass-shooting incidents.

Firefighters across the country are equipping themselves for the possibility of entering mass-shooting situations to aid victims, said Joliet Deputy Fire Chief Greg Blaskey.

“More and more departments are doing this because they realize no one is immune,” Blaskey said Thursday. “It already has hit home close to us in Aurora.”

He referred to the February mass shooting at the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora where five workers were killed by a co-worker who had been fired.

The City Council on Tuesday approved a $32,882 bid from Ray O’Herron Company in Downers Grove to supply 49 ballistic vests and 49 helmets.

Blaskey said the protective equipment will allow paramedics to enter a building where a mass shooting is active under the protection of police to get into a secured area to treat victims.

He said a movement to equip paramedics for such situations has been developing since the Columbine school shooting, when it took several hours before victims could be treated.

“We need to take these lessons learned from these previous events and put them into best practices today,” Blaskey said.

The equipment, he said, is compliant with best practice standards set by he National Fire Protection Association.

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