CLIVE, Iowa -- Clive Fire Department Chief Rick Roe says it's a new era in the profession, "A sad reality that we live in."
As the Clive Fire Department suits up for another day of keeping its growing community safe, firefighters will also be rolling out with bulletproof vests. "It means a lot to the staff because they are out in the middle of the night in environments that aren't always controlled and they want protection. It's important to them."
It's protection they didn't have when they responded alongside police to September's double homicide outside of the 7 Flags Event Center. Firefighter and paramedic Mindy Cross said, "This is a big important step for us to do that when we are talking about a shooting or stabbing." Chief Roe said, firefighters had first hand accounts of how badly they needed to be equipped like police officers "Fights break out right in front of them and there seems to be a lack of respect for authority. Just another reason we want to be protected."
Just months after the shooting the Clive city council approved the purchase of sixteen bulletproof vests at $300 a piece "If it comes out as any kind of shooting or stabbing, staff on the ambulance and engines will show up and have protection vests on to add that level of protection," said Roe.
Cross said everyone is accounted for, "There's a vest for each riding position which is up to six people. Four on the truck and two on the ambulance."
The change is a welcomed adjustment, "It's lighter than the firefighter gear so I think a lot us have a simple transition."
The tactical vest weights 30 pounds and can stop a hand gun or rifle rounds, giving them peace of mind. Cross said, "It's unfortunate that we do but we are happy the city supported our efforts."
Roe says the protection has come full circle for the city of Clive , "A city that wants to protect them and make that investment and make it happen means a lot to them."
The Iowa Professional Firefighters Union says they believe Clive is the first city in the state of Iowa to provide firefighters with bulletproof vests