Local EMS and fire personnel will soon be equipped with body armor in order to render aid quicker in active shooter situations.

Last month, Madison County Supervisors approved the purchase of body armor for EMS and fire department personnel. According to Madison County Emergency Services Coordinator John Sherer, the armor will allow first responders to enter active shooter situations and offer aid at a quicker rate. Currently, law enforcement clears a building before EMS and fire personnel enter.

However, Sherer said, it’s been determined that lives could have been saved in active shooter situations if aid was rendered sooner.

“The idea is to shrink the response time,” he said.

Those responding would be a part of a rescue task force team, an idea that has been discussed during the county’s active threat table top discussions. The county will have an active threat training exercise Saturday, June 15 at Madison County High School. The high school grounds will be off limits to the public during the exercise.

Using the body armor will require additional training. Sherer said it could also be used for domestic incidents.

Supervisors unanimously supported the purchase, opting to spend approximately $6,500 for six sets of gear. The gear had a shelf life of five years.

“[That’s] cheap for this if it can save one life,” board of supervisors chairman Clay Jackson said. “Hopefully, it just ages out and we never have to touch them.”

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