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Calgary Fire Department to purchase bullet-resistant body armour

A file photo of a Calgary firefighter surveying the scene of an emergency call.
A file photo of a Calgary firefighter surveying the scene of an emergency call. The City of Calgary

Active mass shooter situations have become more frequent in recent years, and the Calgary Fire Department is looking to avoid casualties.

In a cooperative purchase with the Calgary Police Service, the fire department is looking to purchase bullet-resistant body armour.

READ MORE: Moncton one of few cities to equip firefighters with Kevlar vests

With the total order potentially being around 500 pieces, the fire department is set to obtain about 40.

The fire department often responds to the same calls police and EMS do, however, police and EMS already have tactical body armour suits — leading the fire department to invest in the extra protection.

The armour is meant to protect the wearer from heavy rifle fire, and are meant to be used primarily in mass shooting situations.

“As the environment changes, we have to evolve with that as well, and make sure that our people are protected to the same level as the members of the other agencies, as well to a degree that we believe is right, as they continue to perform those roles,” said chief Steve Dongworth.

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“We’ve seen a proliferation in North America — not so much in Canada — and in the world I guess, of these active shooter events, which we call criminal mass casualty incidents, and we are reacting to that.”

Dongworth made it clear that he did not want to wait, and end up having to make a reactionary purchase in the event of firefighter casualties in a possible active shooter situation.

He expects to be in possession of this armour, and to be training with Calgary police within the year.

The City of Calgary has placed a request for proposal, meaning that companies are bidding to supply the armour, meaning there is no defined cost at this point. Dongworth estimates the armour to cost around $50,000.