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Quad City paramedics using bullet proof vests for first time

Ambulance crews in Rock Island will soon be equipped with bullet proof vests for the first time in the department's history.

"We're seeing more and more stories of first responders being under attack. Even ambushed, sometimes, throughout the country. So, we thought it was important to get these on the ambulances, to keep our paramedics safe,"said Rock Island Fire Chief Jeff Yerkey.

The department just bought six bullet proof vests similar to the type worn by police officers in the city. Produced specifically for fire departments, the new vests have pouches for paramedics to carry medical supplies, like gauze and tourniquets.

"A lot of the manufacturers now are designing body armor specifically for fire and ambulance use," said Chief Yerkey.

The vests cost $600 each.

Ten-year veteran firefighter Shawn Shipley says the vests will be used on a case by case basis.

"We're not going to wear them on every single call, but there's a time and a place for them, for sure,", Shipley said.