Mesa City Council approves deal to outfit firefighters in body armor
PHOENIX — Mesa city leaders have given the OK to buy body armor for its firefighters, citing increased risk to the first responders and delays in treating the victims of mass shootings.
A report to the council submitted Oct. 1 recommended the contract for $262,000 be approved.
The fire department’s 172 members will receive training, bulletproof vests and ballistic helmets.
The report read, in part:
To expedite Mesa Fire and Medical’s ability to reach patients after the initial threat has been neutralized but before the patient area has been cleared of all hazards, Fire and Medical is requesting the tools and training to enter a Warm Zone with Police resources providing security to Fire and Medical personnel.”
Firefighters wait until “hot” zones have been cleared of danger before attending to a shooting victim, unlike the department’s tactical SWAT medic team, which goes in immediately.
Mesa firefighters want to reach the injured as soon as possible, once an area has been downgraded to “warm,” meaning the zone has been cleared of the major threat but not all danger.
But firefighters working as medics without the protective gear would still be vulnerable.
The report said Mesa’s SWAT team and the fire department’s tactical medic team were among those who reviewed the equipment, including nine types of vests and four helmets.
“We will risk a lot for a savable life, and that’s where the thought process came from,” Assistant Fire Chief Cori Hayes said at a previous council meeting, the East Valley Tribune reported.
“We want to make sure we are saving savable lives while protecting our personnel to the highest level.”