Over the next few months, the Brentwood Fire and Rescue Department will be equipped with bulletproof vests and helmets specially designed for firefighters and medics responding to potentially hostile situations. At its regular July 9 meeting, City Commissioners approved the purchase of 25 sets of gear for the department. The purchase will include 25 helmets, 25 plate carrier vests, 25 chest plates, 25 back plates, and 50 side plates as well as identification panels and bags for a total of $21,964.
Brentwood Fire and Rescue Chief Brian Goss said, “As public safety response evolves to meet ever-changing potential risks and hazards, properly training and equipping our first responders is paramount. Responses involving active shooters and other hostile situations have grown exponentially across the nation in recent years. This is just another step to making our department prepared for any scenario,” Chief Goss added.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officially recommended that all fire and EMS personnel across the United States be provided with ballistic protection in 2014. In April of 2018, the National Fire Protection Association released NFPA 3000, which is the Standard guide for an Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response (ASHER) Program. That guide recommends a minimum of Level III-A ballistic protection for all first responders.
Later this year, the Brentwood Fire and Rescue Department and the Brentwood Police Department and various Williamson County partners plan to finalize an operational guideline for required response resources, equipment, policies and procedures in the event of an Active Shooter/Hostile Event. A full-scale exercise is planned for June of 2019 and will allow agencies to implement and assess the planning processes on a countywide scale.