• Firefighters, paramedics in Foxborough begin training with bulletproof vests

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    FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Firefighters in Foxborough now have an extra piece of defensive gear when responding to emergencies, but it’s probably not something you’d expect them to be wearing.

    “We’re firefighters; we’re not police officers. You don’t expect us to wear bulletproof vests,” Foxborough firefighter and paramedic Erick Berg said.

    There are six new sets of bulletproof vests and Kevlar helmets for firefighters and paramedics in the town, and soon there will be eight. The goal is not to have to wear them, but to have the extra protection if it’s needed.

    “We always take risks as firefighters. We go into burning buildings. We do unsafe rescues. This is just another thing that firefighters now have to worry about,”Berg said.

    The biggest concern is active shooter situations, and the threat is becoming more real as mass shootings occur around the world.

    Most of the firefighters and paramedics in Foxborough began training with the new equipment this week, wearing the gear while practicing for emergency situations, rescuing patients and applying tourniquets.

    The Foxborough Fire Department used a state grant as well as its own funds to buy the eight sets of equipment, which cost $1,200 each.

    Last month, firefighters in Chelsea found themselves in need of their ballistic vests when responding to an active shooting scene and fire. The department had bought the vests with state funds just weeks before.

    There are seven people working at the fire department during each shift, which means there will soon be a set for everyone – but the hope is they’re only used for training.

    “Ideally, we hope to never have to don these vests. We hope there’s never an incident here in town that we’d ever have to use them,” Berg said.

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