Taney County, MO. -- Emergency medical crews in Taney County now have bulletproof vests.
Though they hope to never need the ballistic gear, EMS workers at The Taney County Ambulance District, or TCAD, say the addition to their uniforms is a sign of the times.
When crews get a call for help, they often don't know exactly what kind of situation to which they're going.
"Domestic abuse, violence, fights. Any of that. You never know what kind of situation you're going into. We may get a call for chest pain and it is not really chest pain, it's something else," Dispatcher Angela Welch said.
While the district hasn't had any specific incidents that prompted this purchase, TCAD now has custom-sized vests to protect crews for future worst-case scenarios.
"It helps the crews feel a little bit safer," Lieutenant Johnathan Tudor said. "I never imagined that I would ever put on a bulletproof vest working for the ambulance, never even crossed my mind."
However, Lt. Tudor says times are changing.
"A change in mentality and a change in research," Lt. Tudor
Plus, should local crews ever have to respond to shooting incidents like what recently occurred in El Paso, the vest would help protect EMS as they help victims.
"Most fatalities in an active shooter incident are actually caused by people bleeding out. In a situation like that, if we can get the paramedics in there faster, we can potentially save more lives," Lt. Tudor said.
It's all to protect the people who help protect Taney County communities.
"Another measure of safety for our crews to help them go home to their families at night," Welch said.
"You prepare now and hope it never happens," Lt. Tudor said.
Most of the time EMS workers get to choose when they want to wear their vest, however, there are certain calls where they are required.