Over the years, police and fire departments have trained for the next mass shooting. But, in Temple Terrace, with a training exercise Thursday came a noticeable difference.
“We try to prepare for everything. And any tool we can add to our belt is going to help our guys do the best job we can do,” said Temple Terrace Fire Department training officer Joe Cable.
That tool is a ballistic vest.
The Temple Terrace Fire Department has 15 new vests that come with helmets. There are enough to outfit every paramedic during each shift.
It paves the way for safety.
The departments went through a made up scenario using the new equipment.
“Any added equipment that we can provide to them that keeps them safer while operating in the ‘warm zone’ is a benefit to them, is a benefit to us as law enforcement and it’s a benefit to the community,” said Dep. Chief Bernard Seeley of the Temple Terrace Police Department.
It’s a benefit to the community that some departments haven’t made part of every responding emergency team.
8 On Your Side has reported on Hillsborough County Fire Rescue’s refusal to outfit paramedics with ballistic protection.
A PowerPoint presentation obtained by 8 On Your Side shows that leaders have no immediate plan to allow crews to don the safety equipment.
In Temple Terrace, the safety of first responders and those in the community, is priority number one.
“Anything we can do to get medical attention to these survivors within the ‘warm zone’ of the scene is going to save lives and that’s our primary responsibility, is the preservation of life,” Seeley said.