Five Fire Rescue Departments Acquire Ballistic Vests and Helmets
Hillsborough County, Fla. (Aug. 17, 2021) - Five fire rescue departments across the Tampa Bay region now have almost 700 ballistic vest and helmet kits for protection during active shooter/hostile event response (ASHER) threats as prescribed by National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 3000, thanks to a federal Urban Area Security Initiative (USAI) grant.
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. Each department now has ballistic vest 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.
Video of the vests and interviews with fire rescue officials from these departments