Bullet Proof Vests For Firefighters Debated in Raleigh County

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The Princeton Fire Department in Mercer County is working to buy bullet proof vests for its fire fighters.

Kevin Price, Raleigh County Fire Levy Coordinator, says he sees why that could be a valuable piece of extra protection if the funds are available. But at this time, Price believes the money would be better spent elsewhere. 

“You know, get some trucks out there, get some new breathing apparatus,” Price tells 59News. “Get some things that the guys need just to do their normal job. And we’ll leave the bullet proof vests to the police officers that can shoot back.”

But Joe Coughlin, Beckley Fire Captain, says he’s for his department buying bullet proof vests. Coughlin argues there’s no such thing as being too safe. 

“If a house has got smoke coming out of the windows, neighbor sees it, calls it in, we’re going to go break in the house,” Coughlin says. “So when you’re breaking into a house, it doesn’t hurt to have every precaution covered.” 

“I see it both ways,” Price adds. “I think it’s a bit of an over kill. It’s kind of like hunting squirrels with a bazooka. It gets the job done, but there’s not much meat left over.”

Price went on to say if any fire department was to purchase bullet proof vests, it would have to be from their own bank accounts.

He noted that firefighters already wear dozens of pounds of equipment while on the job. Price feels that while bullet proof vests could potentially save a firefighter’s life, it would also weigh them down more, and make their already difficult line of work even tougher. 

Follow @Joe_Putrelo on Twitter. 

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