These 3 body armor options keep EMS safety top of mind
Choose armor that gives your staff the comfort and flexibility they need to save more lives
Sponsored by Propper
By Yoona Ha, EMS1 BrandFocus Staff
Scene safety is top priority for EMS providers, who have to make sure that a scene isn’t dangerous before they enter the area. Because there’s always the possibility of an accident or an assault on the scene, you’re naturally vigilant about personal scene safety. But sometimes, asking yourself the question, “Is the scene safe?” isn’t enough to guarantee your safety.
Recent events, like the ambulance shooting in Warrenton, NC, show how important it is for EMS agencies to outfit their providers with ballistic vests. In response to the rising number of attacks against prehospital providers, department leaders across the country have started to push for more protection for EMS staff. In fact, some departments have already equipped their providers with ballistic vests.
There are several things for you to consider when you’re purchasing body armor for EMS personnel such as: the design, level of protection and cost effectiveness of each piece of armor. For years, Propper has made body armor options that give EMS staffers the flexibility, comfort and level of protection that even departments under a tight budget can afford.
Here are three different body armor options that are designed with the needs of EMS staffers in mind:
1. THE SWITCH VEST
The Switch Vest works well for EMS personnel because it easily transitions from a concealable carrier that can be worn under a button-down shirt to a fully-loaded plate carrier that can be worn over the uniform. The carrier can easily be loaded with soft armor inserts at Level II and Level IIIA, which protect against most handgun and small arms ammunition. Plus it can also carry hard armor inserts at Level III and Level IV, which protect against rifle fire.
“A lot of ballistic vests out there are so big and bulky that wearing them can be overwhelming, but the Switch Vest is so slim and versatile it can help EMS workers accomplish their mission anywhere,” said Skip Church, vice president of armor products at Propper.
Sometimes carrying medical equipment can also be cumbersome, especially if you’re stuck lugging a bag full of gear that you may not need. The Switch Vest gives EMS staff more flexibility to carry just the tools you need with add-on kangaroo pouches.
2. THE CRITICAL RESPONSE KIT
Because you can never be 100 percent sure that a scene you’re responding to is clear of threats, it’s important that you have easy access to the right kind of protective equipment.
With this in mind, Propper created the Critical Response Kit, a lightweight, low-cost plate carrier with a one-size-fits-all design.
“The kit can be thrown in the back of a vehicle in case of an emergency where there’s rapid fire,” said Church. “With the kit, EMS workers can quickly put on the plate carrier that has Level IV ballistic plates in the front and back.”
The kit also comes with a carrying bag that allows for quick access to the rifle-resistant armor when you need it.
3. THE 4PV-EC VEST
One of the biggest concerns first responders have about wearing body armor is that it’s often cumbersome to wear. Plus, wearing heavy armor that’s not the right fit can easily slow you down while you’re dealing with stressful and dangerous situations.
Propper’s 4PV-EC Vest is a four-panel external carrier that has three optional kangaroo pouches and pouches that can hold medical supplies.
Often when you wear an ill-fitting vest, it rides or bunches up as you move. Propper’s 4PV-EC Vest and the Switch Vest solve this problem with their four-panel design that moves with your body so they never ride up on you while you’re on the go.
Unlike many ballistic vests that only have two panels, Propper’s four-panel design offers better protection with two extra panels that cover the vulnerable side gap found in typical two-piece clamshell vests.
“We understand that a lot of departments don’t have the funding to outfit everyone, so our vests are made to be versatile and comfortable so they can be easily be used across different job descriptions and missions,” said Church.
Working as an EMS provider sometimes means that you’ll be in life threatening situations. But having the right body armor options can give you the peace of mind to confidently respond to more calls and help save more lives.