The Gwinnett Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of body armor for firefighters, the county Department of Fire and Emergency Services announced.
The cost of $344,714.50, which comes from the department’s operating budget, was approved Tuesday afternoon.
The armor will be worn by firefighters during violent situations, and was identified as a need during an internal evaluation of the department’s response procedures for mass trauma incidents, Gwinnett Fire Capt. Tommy Rutledge said.
“The need for body armor and additional trauma equipment was identified following incidents like the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting in December 2012,” Rutledge said in a press release. “In the majority of violent situations, fire and emergency medical personnel are forced to remain outside until law enforcement officers clear the building or hazard area.
“This consumes valuable time that is critical in accessing and treating victims who are still in the hazard zone. The armor provides adequate protection for firefighters as they work with police to quickly search for, remove, and treat victims.”
The department also purchased trauma kits for treating victims. The kits are already being used by firefighters with great success, Rutledge said.