Fire/EMS - Justifying the Need for Body Armor

Before you can expect your agency to purchase body armor, you may need to justify why Fire/EMS should have ballistic protection.

Speaker:  Bob Kollar

Given your specific agency and making decision on why you need the plates, what are the reasons you need them? Take a look at your runs, what’s going on? That’s one thing that you can look at. Are you showing up to scenes that are violent, that are domestics? Are you going to a lot of fights? Is there a possibility of active shooter situations?

Now, being firemen, we don’t want to be there first and we don’t want to go into that hot zone. But, can we get thrown into that? Absolutely. It happens all the time. We just don’t record that.

If you go back through your runs and sit there, “Hey, it would’ve been nice to have a vest on this run or on this run,” a lot of guys are going to go back and forth. Do you want to be protected or do you not want to be protected? Go through your runs and look at those.

Next step is to take a look at what’s really happening in the United States. Take a look at Florida, what happened in Florida with that mass shooting down there. That was a very affluent neighborhood in South Florida. How many people would have done a threat assessment on that high school and said, “Hey, you know what? Some kid is going to come here in this nice neighborhood in South Florida and start shooting people?” Did anybody ever think that was going to happen there, in that town? No.

Nobody thought about it and that’s part of the problems that we’re running into, is these situations can happen anywhere, any town, at any time.


Bob Kollar - Lieutenant Cleveland Fire Department (Retired)