Southaven first responders hoping for additional bullet-resistant gear

Southaven Firefighters and Paramedics equipped with bullet-resistant vests

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (WMC) - Three years ago, the Southaven Fire Department invested in bullet-resistant equipment.

"These are just another tool in our toolbox to protect our personnel," said Southaven Fire Department Public Information Officer Malena Alderman.

Each vests costs $800 and an additional $250 for helmets.

"Nationally we're seeing not only an increase in the active shooter incidents, unfortunately, but also those were fire and EMS personnel are being targeted on scenes," said Alderman.

Alderman says first responders don't wear the vests at every scene.

She couldn’t say if they wore the vests at the deadly Southaven Walmart shooting last week. but Alderman gave us an idea of the types of scenes where the vests could be used.

Southaven Walmart gunman suspect identified

"A known scene where there may be an increase level of danger or something like that then these vests will be available on the scene," said Alderman.

Weeks before the Southaven Walmart shooting, Southaven police and firefighters had a joint active shooter training.

That team training is a relatively new approach, but one Southaven officials say is necessary.

"They're going in with us as a team to begin taking care of the injured and triaging," Deputy Chief Mark Little told WMC Action News 5 last week.

Bullet-resistant vests put to the test

At the end of the day, both police and fire say they have one goal in mind.

"We want to do everything possible to keep our personnel safe along with our citizens and community," said Alderman.

Alderman says in light of the recent deadly shootings, the fire department wants to invest in more bullet-resistant gear.

WMC also reached out to the Shelby County Fire Department. Officials said they have been working toward getting bullet-resistant vests but have not finalized any plans yet.

Copyright 2019 WMC. All rights reserved.