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Ill. ambulance service buys 55 ballistic vests through grant

The vests are now part of the Adams County Ambulance Service uniform policy for specific types of calls

By Laura French

ADAMS COUNTY, Ill. — An Illinois county ambulance service has purchased 55 ballistic vests to help keep EMS providers safe during calls.

Adams County Ambulance Service Chief John Simon said the vests were mostly funded through a $30,000 from the Marion Gardner Jackson Charitable Trust, with the rest of the cost coming from the agency’s operating budget, according to the Herald-Whig.

The vests will part of the service’s uniform policy for certain types of calls involving an increased safety risk for EMS providers, including calls involving weapons, assaults and disturbances, psychiatric calls, overdoses and law enforcement standbys, according to Lead Paramedic Eric Nielsen.

Officials said Adams County crews have responded to more than 650 of these high-risk calls over the past 12 months. Nielsen said while there hasn’t necessarily been an influx of assaults on EMS providers in the area, the vests provide “another layer of safety” in these high-risk situations, according to the Herald-Whig.

Nielsen added that providers will not be required to wear the vests on every call, but can wear them on more calls if they choose to.