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Decatur County Fire and Rescue purchases first ballistic vest for employees

Posted at 6:21 PM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-25 18:21:15-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — After the shooting of Captain Justin Bedwell of the Decatur County Sheriff's Office, Fire and Rescue looked at that situation as to how they can keep their first responders safe during things like active shooter situations.

Bullet proof vests will now be a standard item first responders will have with them while responding to certain situations like active shooters.

"We like to be equipped with the proper PPE and the proper equipment for whatever the situation may arise, to make sure that we can serve the citizens and get our job done the best way that we can," said Tyler Dalton of the Decatur County Fire and Rescue.

Dalton, who works EMS for the department, was on scene the night that Decatur County Sheriff's Deputy Captain Justin Bedwell was shot in Brinson Georgia, Saturday, Feb. 27.

Providing services for the police on scene, Fire and Rescue didn't know they were still vulnerable while working the scene that night with the gunman still on the loose.

After the shooting, the department decided it needed to protect it's people during active shooter situations, announcing on Facebook that they have bought their first ballistic vest.

"We realized that when we were there, we were vulnerable, and that's scary," said Jamie Earp, Assistant Chief of Fire and Rescue.

Each vest costs around 2,000 dollars, and is funded through grants.
The department said they'll do what it takes to keep fire fighters like Austin Davis safe.

"It makes me feel a lot better, makes my home life easier, my family knows I'm a lot safer," said Davis.

Fire and Rescue also tells ABC 27 that they are looking to get five more vests through grant funding within the next three months.