Cuyahoga County fire departments to get bulletproof vests to respond to active shooter incidents

Posted at 6:09 PM, Aug 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-10 18:09:35-04

The attack at Ohio State, the shooting at Chardon High School and the terror at Pusle Nighclub in Orlando. Tragedies in public places here in Ohio and across the country are changing how our firefighters and first responders do their jobs.

Departments in Cuyahoga County are preparing by gearing up with military grade equipment.

Ballistic vests and helmets may not be standard gear for the job, but it's getting riskier for first responders, and another level of protection is a must.

Lyndhurst Police Chief Mike Carroll says it's a new day and age for public safety.

"It is and it's one of those things, we are trying to stay ahead of the curve," Carroll said.

First responders have always been involved in police and SWAT situations, but now their role is changing.

"In the old days we would wait until SWAT cleared, that could take an hour or more, now we are on scene and involved in minutes," Carroll said.

Carroll has been working on the county-wide project for more than a year that was just officially made possible through a federal homeland security grant. It will fund two sets of gear for each department.

"Anywhere you have active shooter active threat, could be someone with a knife, we would go with this gear and law enforcement as a team," said Carroll.

Fire departments are now working closely with police to train and prepare properly.

"It's not a matter of if, it's when it's going to occur," Carroll said. "It may not occur in the city of Lyndhurst, it may occur in one of the neighboring communities, and we are going to be responding there."

It costs a little more than $1200 to outfit one person with the gear. The hope is to have all of the quipment by late September or early October.