August 21, 2018
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Old Orchard Beach firefighters to get protective ballistic vests

By Liz Gotthelf, Journal Tribune

OLD ORCHARD BEACH, Maine — The Old Orchard Beach Fire Department will soon be able to purchase 20 protective ballistic vests, thanks to the help of a national chain restaurant.

Old Orchard Beach firefighter and paramedic Bill Young spearheaded a fundraising campaign last year to purchase protective ballistic vests for firefighters and paramedics to protect them against sharp weapons and other dangers.

In a written statement in August, Chief Ed Dube said firefighters in nearby communities were already using ballistic safety vests, but the department didn’t have the money to purchase the equipment.

“Life has changed. Firefighters are being called into the same dangerous situations as police officers,” Dube said.

The Town Council on Feb. 6 approved the acceptance of a grant from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation for nearly $24,000 to be used for protective ballistic vests.

The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation provides life-saving equipment and needed resources to first responders and public safety organizations, according to information from the foundation’s website.

Money for the foundation comes from donations as well as a portion of sales from Firehouse Subs restaurants.

More and more fire departments across the country are using ballistic vests and tactical helmets to better protect their firefighters.

Many people may think stab vests may inhibit the movement of firefighters, but modern stab vests are lightweight and designed for free movement, according to a news release from Safeguard Clothing, a national supplier of body armor. Body armor designed for fire personnel is heat resistant and designed for optimum comfort in all temperatures.

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