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Local EMS Purchases Bulletproof Vests for Better Protection

"Well we don't want to be in a situation where we have to say gosh i wish we had our vests on, um hopefully, we, they never get used but if something does happen during an incident our people are protected. That's the most important thing," said Ward Fleger, Smithsburg EMS Operations Director.

SMITHSBURG, Md. - FEMA experts are advising firefighter and emergency crews to invest in bulletproof vests due to the increase in mass shootings and bombings nationwide.

Locally, Wednesday's night cascade shooting incident was the second time Smithsburg EMS used their new bulletproof vests on the job.

"Well we don't want to be in a situation where we have to say gosh I wish we had our vests on. Hopefully, we, they never get used but if something does happen during an incident our people are protected. That's the most important thing," said Ward Fleger, Smithsburg EMS Operations Director. 

According to the vendor, Point Blank Enterprise Inc. Smithsburg is the first EMS crew in Maryland to purchase bulletproof vests. And it's a decision that's keeping their volunteers safer. 

"You feel almost unstoppable which you're not but it gives you that feel that you are," said Christine Roberts, Smithsburg Volunteer EMT.

Smithsburg EMS bought four bulletproof vests for their crew to use during each shift if they need it. Their vests specially say EMS on the front and the back so the public knows who they are and that they're not affiliated with law enforcement officials.

"The last thing we want to do is intimidate, the people that need us. We want to you know clearly identify that hey we're EMS," said Fleger.

Responders say they often enter medical situations where there could be weapons or violence and that's why this group made the decision to invest in these vests.

"We also concerned for our own safety and we want to protect ourselves because we have families too and we want to go home the next day too," said Fleger. 

Volunteers with Smithsburg EMS say all the vests were purchased with money from the SEMS Bonanza Extravaganza fundraiser and some members even purchased their own personal vests.

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