Houston Fire Department to get bulletproof vests

By Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli - Digital News Editor

Firefighters walk out of a Houston apartment complex in this undated image.

HOUSTON - The Houston Fire Department will soon be getting bulletproof vests thanks to a push by Fire Chief Samuel Peña.

Peña argued that a rise in the number of incidents against first responders has put firefighters at risk for more than just a collapsing roof or hazardous environments.

"It is a new reality that is contrary to how we’ve always viewed this honorable profession, but protective clothing must be compatible with the environment we work in’.” Peña said. “This is the next progression of tools of the trade. Vest-wearing, as Personal Protective Equipment, will come to be an industry best-practice.”

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, the City Council and federal grant funding have allowed the process, totaling over $1 million, to move forward.

Once approved, Houston firefighters will be wearing the vests when responding to calls like domestic violence incidents, shootings and stabbings that have a clear potential for danger.

The vests will be paid for partially through a federal grant and general funding allocations approved by Turner.

“I appreciate the taxpayers, Turner and City Council for allocating funding for this purchase,” Peña said. “Making sure our firefighters are protected in dangerous situations is of the upmost (sic) importance.”

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