MILTON, Ga. — Fire Chief Robert Edgar hopes that Milton’s firefighters will never need to use them, but the city is seeking a grant for ballistic protection for its fire personnel.
The grant, provided by Firehouse Subs Foundation, would provide 18 protective vests and helmets to the city’s fire department. The endowment would total $19,152 and would cover all the costs for the equipment.
At the Nov. 20 City Council meeting, Edgar advocated for the grant while listing recent and past mass shootings. With those incidents of mass violence, Edgar said the ballistic protection equipment “provides the protection I feel is needed for our firefighters.”
“We pray it won’t [happen here], but we can’t put our heads in the sand and think it will not,” Edgar said. “We need to prepare our firefighters who are responding to these types of incidents.”
Edgar said while firefighters would not enter the “hot” zone during a potential mass casualty incident, they would be present to attend to victims.
“We are there to seek out the injured, treat them and transport them to the closest facility,” he said. “And we need to protect our firefighters with the most up-to-date ballistic protection that is available, and that is these vests and helmets.”
The vests’ appearance will differentiate them from police personnel and will provide for a “universal” fit that can be adjusted to each firefighter.
Edgar said the Federal Emergency Management Agency has advised fire personnel have the equipment available.
The vests have a life-span of five years. However, Edgar said the city can either pursue another grant at that time or provide backing through the city’s management and operations funds.
“It is my hope that we never use them and they rot in the truck, but that they are there if our personnel ever need them,” Edgar said.
If awarded, Milton Fire would receive the grant in January and likely receive the equipment in April.