LODI (CBS13) – Some local firefighters are hoping to beef up their uniforms with bulletproof vests.
The Lodi Fire Foundation is raising money to purchase 20 sets that include ballistic vests, helmets and pouches. Each set costs roughly $1,500.READ MORE: California Gov. Newsom Criticizes GOP After Texas School Shooting: 'Who The Hell Are We If We Cannot Keep Our Kids Safe'
The added equipment is a growing trend across the country as firefighters find themselves increasingly in active shooter situations. FEMA recommended bulletproof gear for firefighters nearly a decade ago.
“When I entered into the fire service over two decades ago, this wasn’t even really a concept,” said Lodi Fire Chief Ken Johnson.
Johnson wants every engine and truck equipped with bulletproof vests, including enough for every first responder heading into a violent and unpredictable situation.
The idea of firefighters wearing bulletproof vests may not be obvious, but it’s clear it’s becoming more necessary. Sacramento firefighters rushed into last month’s mass shooting scene in the downtown area not even knowing if the shooters were still there.READ MORE: California Passes Water Ban For Commercial Properties Amid Ongoing Drought
“Just as times have changed, we have to prioritize protecting our people so that we can protect the community,” Johnson said. “It just became a reality.”
Lodi Fire Foundation Board Member Theresa Bettenhausen said they’re pushing to raise $40,000, enough for 20 ballistic vests with helmets and pouches.
“[Firefighters] save lives, so the vests to us, if it’s a shooting situation, we want them to be safe and save their life,” said Bettenhausen.
“We don’t want this to happen, we hope it never happens. But if we have a plan in place that can react in a quick timely fashion, it’ll better serve the community,” said Johnson.MORE NEWS: President Biden Delivers Remarks On Texas School Shooting
They’re collecting donations at the Lodi Fire Department or on their website.