Cincinnati Fire Union Calls For Bullet-Resistant Vests For First Responders

CINCINNATI, OH – The shooting at Cameo Nightclub Sunday morning, March 26, shows the danger firefighters can face when answering a call.

The firehouse near Lunken Airport was home to some of the EMT’s who rushed into the chaos. Firehouse 18 was the closest to Cameo and the medics on duty Sunday morning responded to the scene knowing they were walking into a dangerous situation. The firefighters and medics who responded to Cameo were not part of the 187 firefighters who recently received new bullet-resistant vests.

The union’s president said the vests were a necessity because sometimes firefighters don’t know what they’re walking into or the dangers they could face. For example, earlier in March 2017, firefighters were shot at when they tried to check on a man who thought they were breaking into his house. No one was hurt. That was why the president of the firefighters’ union said every firefighter needed a new vest.

Union President IAFF Local 48, Matt Alter, said, “In a mass casualty incident like this or a mass shooting like this, the firefighters and paramedics become combat medics and those firefighters that arrived weren’t part of that group of 187 who have been issued the new vests that are in their service dates and fitted for them. They made the best of a situation that they could.”

Alter said many of the firefighters were wearing expired vests they received from the police department in January 2017. It beat a blank, but the firefighters want new vests that are fitted for them.

Alter said it will cost about $210,000 to outfit the rest of the fire department. Some city council members have said they can find the money for them – despite the city’s budget deficit.

Alter will discuss the request for more bullet-resistant vests at a law and public safety committee meeting April 10.


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