Most firefighters go without bullet proof vests - - Jackson, MS

Most firefighters go without bullet proof vests

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Firefighters spend their careers protecting lives and property from flames, a dangerous job, but more often they are finding a need to protect themselves from gunfire.

In the wake of the ambush killings of two Webster, New York firefighters, 3 On Your Side investigated how safe our firemen are.

Some Jackson Fire Department engines do have bullet proof vests on them but not all of them.

"It's no particular way in which they are issued, we just have some bullet proof vests and in some instances we've had to done those bullet proof vests. It just depends on the incident and what happens during that incident," says Jackson Fire Department Public Information Officer R.D. Simpson.

There is a protocall for arriving on some scenes, such as a shooting, there fire crews wait for police to clear the scene. 

Firefighters also train to ensure their safety when they first arrive on a call.

"If you are not safe, you cannot save anyone else. So, it's an instinct that firemen and police officers have, as well as being taught the first thing you want to make sure is your personal safety," explained Simpson.

Simpson says it's rare firefighters have to wear bullet proof vests, but he says they are always looking at equipment upgrades.

"It is becoming, unfortunately, in fire service it's becoming a concern, and a lot of fire departments are forced to look at and we're definitely not immune from the issue at all."

Simpson wouldn't say the department is prepared to order more.

WLBT has been told most fire departments in the metro do not have bullet proof vests.

Flowood F.D. does not have bullet proof vests, according to P.I.O. Lt. Brian Grantham. Madison County EMA Director Butch Hammack did not know of a fire department in the county that had bullet proof vests when contacted Thursday.

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