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Fla. fire department to add ballistic armor to ambulance

Gainesville Fire Rescue plans to add ballistic protection to the ambulance’s front, sides and back to protect against handgun-caliber bullets


By EMS1 Staff

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A fire department is planning to equip one of their ambulances with ballistic armor.

WUFT reported that Gainesville Fire Rescue is looking to hire a company that will equip one of their ambulances with level IIIA ballistic protection to the ambulance’s front, sides and back to protect against handgun-caliber bullets.

Gainesville Fire Rescue District Chief Shawn Hillhouse said a dangerous active shooter incident occurred a few years ago, and the armor is a way to be better prepared.

“We’ve embedded medics with [a] law enforcement team when there was gun fire being exchanged between law enforcement and [a] suspect,” Chief Hillhouse said. “We had the need to move injured people from a warm zone back to a cold zone for waiting EMS.”

Chief Hillhouse added that other counties will be able to use the armored ambulance when they need it.

University of Florida criminology professor Fred Shenkman said more departments should have access to armored ambulances.

“If you have officers down or citizens down … [responders] can’t always sit back and wait [for police],” Shenkman said. “We need to be more proactive in getting to that [injured] person, and we don’t want to have emergency medical responders also in danger at that point.”

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