Detroit Firefighters Dispute Body Armor Purchase

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The figurative sparks are flying between the city of Detroit, Michigan, and its firefighter union over body armor. The city claims the NIJ Level II vests it ordered for firefighters are adequate but the firefighter’s union maintains that the vests do not provide enough protection from stabbing, the biggest threat Detroit first responders face in the field.

It is an unfortunate reality that firefighters, paramedics and ambulance attendants are adding body armor to their standard equipment. First responders not only need to protect themselves from the threat of firearms but they are frequently faced with drug users armed with knives, screwdrivers and needles. The special threat environment faced by first responders requires that protective equipment must function against a wide variety of potential assaults. In Detroit the firefighter’s union is claiming the city’s solution does not go far enough. Read more

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