Five fire rescue departments across Tampa Bay have acquired ballistic vests and helmets to protect personnel during an active shooter rescue, according to a Hillsborough County news release.
Rescue departments in Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties, and with the City of Tampa and Plant City have acquired nearly 700 ballistic vest and helmet kits for protection, the release says. They’re to be used during active shooter/hostile event response (ASHER) threats, as prescribed by National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 3000.
The equipment was provided through a federal Urban Area Security Initiative (USAI) grant, the release adds.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue took the lead in writing the grant application and drafting training and protocol measures for use of the kits. Tampa Fire Rescue, Pasco County Fire Rescue, Hernando County Fire Rescue, and Plant City Fire Rescue all participated in the grant process, the release says.
Each department now has ballistic vests and helmet kits for each apparatus that would respond in an active shooter scenario. The kits will protect more than 2,500 fire rescue personnel in the Tampa Bay region.
Each ballistic vest kit includes an adjustable vest, two armored steel plates that fit into the vest, and a protective Kevlar helmet. Hillsborough County Fire Rescue is providing training for each department on the proper use of the kits.
The ballistic vest kit protocol calls for them to be used only in an ASHER threat. Rescue personnel would only enter an ASHER site to care for the wounded after law enforcement has secured the scene. The kits would provide an additional level of protection in a life-threatening situation.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue applied for the grant to procure the vests and helmets, to ensure that all agencies in the region potentially responding to an ASHER threat would have access to the same protection, according to the release.
Published August 25, 2021