Williamsville Fire Department unveils new ballistic vests to keep firefighters safe

Posted at 6:10 PM, Aug 02, 2017

The Williamsville Fire Department unveiled eight new ballistic vests that will be worn by first responders when acting as EMT's. 

The ballistic vests, which are already in use by the department, are intended to be worn independently from the firefighters equipment. 

"We are anticipating that the vests will be used for all other incidents beyond firefighting" Fire Chief Michael Measer said. 

Designed by Dival Safety Equipment based out of Buffalo, these are some of the first ballistic vests to be used by a fire department in Western New York. With a protective lining and row of pockets, the vest is designed to be able to wear in just seconds. 

"It's meant for quick deployment to get on in hurry" Chief Measer said.

When two firefighters were shot and killed in the Christmas Eve shooting in Webster, Rochester, the need for vests that could stop a knife or bullet became more obvious to Chief Measer. 

"It's always in the back of our head that we can respond to a very normal situation and have it become very volatile." 

He hopes these vests can properly keep his crew safe, so a situation like Webster doesn't happen. 

"I certainly don't want to be the fire chief standing in front of a camera saying that one of my firefighters was shot at and killed," Measer said, "And I or we didn't provide the tools to help them."

Williamsville Mayor Brian Kulpa has also been in support of the vests saying, "It's about first responders having another level of confidence when heading into an unknown situation."

Neither the Mayor nor Chief Measer told us how much the vests were, but said the funds came out of a portion of the budget given to the Williamsville Fire Department.