Bulletproof vests will be mandatory in situations when dispatchers have information a request for assistance involves the potential for direct confrontation, according to fire officials. FILE PHOTO

Fairfield firefighters to wear bulletproof vests

The gear, which will arrive in three to four weeks, will be mandatory in situations when dispatchers have information that the request for assistance involves the potential for direct confrontation, according to fire officials.

That includes reported shootings, stabbings, fights, domestic violence calls with injuries, alcohol-related incidents where an injury has occurred, violent crime scenes and other high-risk scenes of violence.

“While we want our personnel to be protected in high risk situations, we do not want the people we are called to help to perceive us as a threat,” said fire Chief Don Bennett.

There will be 44 vests purchased, which will be red to differentiate from police personnel, purchased at $425 apiece. City Council allocated $20,000 for the vests. The vests will be shared among fire department personnel.

The vests will be classified as level 3A, designed to protect firefighters and medics from small arms, which Bennett said that’s where “we feel as though our greatest threat.”

“What we’re trying to address are situations that become violent after we start to administer patient care,” he said.

The service life of the vests is about five years, according to Bennett.

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