OWENSBORO, KY (WFIE) - The Owensboro Fire Department will soon be getting body armor and learning more about responding to hostile situations to protect themselves and better serve the community.
“We will be going into what we call the warm zone for the hostile environments to assist injured persons that need to be, have medical aide and to be extracted out of there," Battalion Chief Colter Tate said.
The rescue task force concept is being developed with the Owensboro Police Department. Police would respond to an event with an active threat, and firefighters would soon follow them to assist any victims.
“We won’t be in the area where necessarily there will be hostile events going on but we’ll be adjacent to it," Tate said. "So it gives some protection and a little bit of piece of mind.”
And this training isn’t just for mass casualties. Fire officials say it can be utilized in smaller scale situations like a suicidal person or domestic violence incident.
“We’re going to use it for our small and large scale incidents," Tate said. "We want it to be scale-able so if it’s just one person that’s injured in the area that we can still get in there.”
Fire officials say 75 percent of their calls are medical runs and hope they can use their skills to help a victim when time is of the essence.
“We’re used to running into burning buildings or going on EMS calls, doing other things like that,” Tate said. “Not really in a situation where there’s active threats.”
The vests are expected to come in in May and the fire department hopes to be entirely trained by the start of the new school year.