North Charleston approves bulletproof vests for firefighters

Bulletproof vests may soon be donned by North Charleston firefighters.

North Charleston City Council approved the purchase of 462 new bulletproof vests for North Charleston’s first responders. The police department will get the majority of the new body armor order, but NCFD is asking for the remaining 100 vests.

North Charleston Fire Chief Greg Bulanow wants vests on his firefighters to help reduce the carnage of active shooter incidents. “The opportunity exists to enter the scene earlier and provide evacuation and bleeding control,” said Bulanow, “that would result in saving lives.”

Firefighters and medics typically treat an active scene before it is cleared. “Our firefighters are responding to most calls with law enforcement so we’re on the scene and the potential for that risk exists” added Bulanow.

Tactical industry experts say departments across the country are making similar moves as North Charleston. “We are seeing more and more agencies look out to purchase tactical protection not just for the police officers, but for their firefighters and EMT’s” said Chad Watson of Tra-Fx Public Safety Supply, “even municipal workers.”

City officials say the 462 new “active shooter kits” (362 vests for NCPD & 100 vests for 100 for NCFD) will cost $236,500.

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