Orlando Fire Department applies for grant for ballistic vests

Chief wants to see added extra security barrier

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Fire Department told News 6 that it is in the in the process of applying for a grant that would allow the department to purchase more ballistic vests.

"When you look at what the nation has gone through and what we went through here in Orlando. I guess we are more astute. We are more aware, more cognizant of what's happening in the world because it affects us here in Orlando," said fire Chief Roderick Williams.

Williams said that department wide training for the ballistic vests has been going on for a few weeks, but active-shooter training has been going on for more than a decade.

The extra security barrier is something the chief would like to see added, after many of the fire personnel witnessed one of the largest mass shootings of all time.

"I grew up in this department, so I put myself in their shoes, of, 'What would it take for me to feel more secure when I go into a scene?' and I think this is one of their devices, or one of those pieces of equipment that we can use to help our personnel to feel that much more secure," said Williams.

The Fire Department does remind the public that their firefighters are not armed law enforcement, and despite acquiring bulletproof vests, it is still protocol to wait for the "all clear" from officers before entering any crime scene.

"Once the scene is secure and safe, we go in at that point. So we will never be in a situation where we run in there first, in front of law enforcement. That's not what this is about," said Williams.

The department said that the push for ballistic vests isn't a direct response to the Pulse shooting, adding it is more a sign of the times, both locally and nationally.
"When you look at what's going on in the world, we got to make sure we equip out personnel to still be able to render aid." said Williams.   

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