Ballistic vests part of the uniform for more firefighters

DALLAS (AP) — Houston officials will spend up to $1.4 million to purchase ballistic vests for firefighters as they join a growing number of cities buying the vests to better protect firefighters who are more often encountering active-shooter or other deadly situations.

Fire Chief Sam Pena said in a statement Wednesday that the department “must now also consider protection against violent acts.”

Houston joins an expanding list of fire departments — Boston, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh among them — that have purchased the vests.

John Montes with the National Fire Protection Association says firefighters and paramedics in many cases no longer wait for police to defuse a deadly situation before entering the scene.

Montes says the vests provide protection as they try to reduce the number of victims accessible to an assailant and also provide medical care sooner.

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