Agency to buy body armor for all EMTs and paramedics

The Winthrop Ambulance Service and surrounding fire departments are equipping personnel with EMS body armor for everyday use

WINTHROP, Maine — The Winthrop Ambulance Service, in response to increasing violence against public safety personnel, is purchasing EMS body armor for everyday use by its paramedics and EMTs.

The Maine ambulance service plans to spend $12,000 on two-dozen bullet-resistant vests, reported WGME. The vests, paid for with funds from the towns the agency serves, will be a shade of EMS blue.

"Violence against fire and EMS providers is on the rise. Gun violence is on the rise," John Dovinsky, director, Winthrop Ambulance service, said. "To add into that we now have the situation with drug overdoses when they wake up sometimes they're assaultive."

Winthrop Ambulance Service also plans to use a grant to purchase more tactical EMS body armor, helmets and goggles, like those in use at the Augusta (Maine) Fire Department, for active shooter incident response.

Other Maine fire departments and EMS agencies, according to the Portland Press Herald, have purchased or are considering EMS body armor. The Augusta, Waterville and Winslow fire departments, all of which provide ambulance service, have obtained body armor. Delta Ambulance Service is also considering buying EMS body armor.

"We in small town America are no longer exempt from having to prepare ourselves for these types of responses," Dovinsky said.

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