The City of Akron has announced that starting the week of April 5th, all Akron Firefighters and EMS will wear ballistic vests and helmets on calls that are deemed more dangerous and threatening to their safety.
Mayor Dan Horrigan was quoted in a press release, saying, “This is the unfortunate but necessary result of changes in our landscape, including the increasing frequency of volatile and dangerous emergency situations. One of our highest responsibilities is to the safety of our first responders. Our firefighter/medics can’t help others unless they are safe and protected themselves.”
The protective exuipment was made possible, in part, thanks to the passage of Issue 4, the income tax increase, back in November. The press release noted that the Northern Ohio Golf Charities also provided a $29,000 to cover costs as well. According to the press release, each Akron EMS unit will be outfitted with four sets of ballistic gear (helmets and vests), "to be used whenever conditions warrant added protection." Those conditions, as explained by the city, would include active shooter situations, or other calls that have the potential for escalating into violent situations.
“Ballistic protection for the safety of our personnel has been a priority for the Akron Fire Department for many years,” Fire Chief Clarence Tucker said. “Providing our officers with this gear will allow them to more safely respond and care for victims at the scene of a shooting or other violent event.”